Can volunteering help with your recovery?

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It’s well-known that volunteering in your community can make a difference… but it’s not just the community that benefits from your efforts. Volunteering is a two-way street of mutual aid. As you provide invaluable services to the community, you’re also reaping the rewards.

According to Western Connecticut State University, there are many reasons why volunteering is good for you.

  • Creating connections: by engaging with your community, you are forming new bonds. You’re making new friends, or connecting with people that you can genuinely relate to, or just meeting your neighbors. 
  • Mind and body benefits: volunteering boosts your self-esteem and confidence, combats depression, and gets you up and moving around. It gives you a role and a routine, helps you build essential life skills, and can give you a much-needed shot of confidence.
  • Building opportunities: who knows what doors volunteering may open for you? Maybe you’ll find your passion or form a career-building network that will help you in the future.

Why Volunteer?

After leaving a long, abusive relationship, Kristin Mathiesen felt isolated and emotionally broken down. Her life had fallen apart, but the one thing that had helped keep her together was the support she received from her community. As she regained her strength, she decided to repay the favor. Kristin wanted to turn her negative experience into something positive, both for herself and others. That’s when she found community volunteer work with a women’s empowerment project.

Volunteering, she said, brought her outside of herself. It gave her a problem to focus on, allowing her to direct her attention elsewhere. She found that thinking about other people kept her from dwelling on her own sadness and trauma and pulled her out of her emotional downward spiral. She had reclaimed her terrible experience and turned it into something that would help others. 

But it wasn’t just something she did to avoid her problems or keep busy so she could forget about her grief. Mathiesen felt fundamentally altered by her community service. Her trauma, when applied to volunteer work, became a useful experience. She wasn’t a victim anymore, but a survivor who had something special to give back. It helped her face her fears and developed her physical, mental, and emotional skills. Her input was valued and worthwhile, and she was rewarded with a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Unsurprisingly, Mathiesen highly recommends volunteering to others, especially those who find themselves struggling. If you are in recovery, no doubt you, too, can benefit from the healing power of community service.

Volunteer in Vegas

When it comes to volunteer opportunities, Las Vegas has plenty. Sites like VolunteerMatch can help pair you up with the perfect task.

We all want to feel fulfilled, helpful, worthwhile and needed. We want to make a difference. The important thing about volunteering is that it has to mean something to you. It can be working in a soup kitchen, mentoring in the community, helping in addiction treatment centers or homeless shelters, assisting at an animal shelter, knitting socks, picking up litter, writing letters to nurse home residents, or stacking cans on shelves.

Whatever you choose, you have to find a task that makes you feel good, strong, kind, generous, and worthwhile. You might be surprised to discover what a difference volunteering can truly make.