Life is hectic. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine finding time for more urgent priorities that seem to add themselves to the list. The impact modern life has on our mental health is heavily documented, and widely experienced first hand by just about everyone.
When we’re on survival mode—with hardcore flight or fight engaged—it’s hard to find time to be selfless. But what if we could do something that was good for us (healthy) and good for others (delicious).
Volunteering just might be to wellbeing what dark chocolate is to superfoods.
Finding a hobby outside of professional work is one of the best ways to boost mental health. Volunteering is a great way to take this up a notch. It’s selflessly giving back. It’s paying forward without expecting reciprocity. It’s kindness. It’s humanity.
Almost one third of Aussies 15 years and older volunteer every year through an organisation. More than half do it to help others, 44% do it for personal satisfaction and 36% do it to do something worthwhile (ABS). The intrinsic motivation to volunteer promotes wellbeing—in the service of others.
By making a difference to someone else’s life by volunteering, you’re also making a difference to your own life. Countless studies show that people who volunteer are happier and satisfied in general, which benefits their mental health and wellbeing.
As one of Australia’s largest farming support charities, hundreds of volunteers have generously helped us for 21 years—so that we can help farmers, farming families and communities survive through the tough times so they can thrive in the good. During National Volunteers Week, we’re saying a thank you to our network of volunteers—especially our Aussie Helpers Volunteers for Isolated Student Education (AHVISE) ‘Angels’.
Our AHVISE ‘Angels’ play an particularly important role, given the continued education inequality farming kids face compared to their city cousins. They are experienced, often retired teacher and tutor volunteers who donate their time and expertise to support geographically isolated families with their kids’ education needs—both virtually and in-person.
Retired couple Audrey and Bruce Flood from Sydney are two of our long-term and much loved AHVISE Angels. They’ve donated six weeks of their retirement every year for the last 10 years to deliver in-person lessons for kids in a farming family who live on the Atherton Tablelands, a 4.5 hour drive from Cairns. While they truly make a difference to the lives of bush kids, they also recognise the impact volunteering has on their lives.
“As with all volunteering, you always get back more than you put in and we love it,” Bruce said of being an AHVISE Angel.
If you’re looking for more purpose in your life, this is the sign that you can do something good for you (healthy) and good for others (delicious). We can all benefit from volunteering.
For more information about AHVISE, to volunteer or visit aussiehelpers.org.au.