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COVID-19 has changed the world we live in forever. In this unprecedented situation, we are all individuals yet somehow together; struggling to find our feet. The intersection of our privileges informs our pandemic experience in different ways. However, with so many people currently in distress, the world needs responsible citizens more than ever.

A lot of us are trying to find a sense of purpose during the pandemic or seeking a new social activity to feel like we belong somewhere other than in our living room. Others daydream of a gap year to explore the world while giving back, though having the budget and ability to travel may remain in the realm of fantasy for many.

If you have read this far, then you may be interested in a counterintuitive discovery: a study found that giving time selflessly, compared with spending time on oneself or wasting time, increased people’s perception of how much time they had.

In another study, researchers compared volunteering to the effects on people’s income, finding that for a participant earning an average middle-class salary, volunteering would make someone as happy as having an extra €1,000 per year.

Not convinced yet? There is also a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. To find a volunteer position that’s right for you, you might wish to look for something that matches your personality and skills.

Ask yourself: is there something specific you want to do or achieve as a volunteer? And remember, volunteering can help you:

  • Get a sense of belonging

  • Find purpose

  • Embrace your passions

  • Build professional skills

  • Build feel-good emotions

  • Increase life satisfaction

  • Combat depression

  • Try out leadership opportunities

  • Expand your social networks

  • Boost your self-worth

  • Counteract stress, anger, and anxiety

  • Maintain meaning outside of work

In a nutshell: volunteering is good for your mind and body. There are many ways to volunteer, including virtually at the moment. Find opportunities here.

Because of the rate of change in our world today, every individual can benefit from flexibility. One thing remains certain: your ability to adapt, flex, and stretch by volunteering beyond your typical experience is an action for today that benefits your tomorrow.

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