There are so many reasons people choose to volunteer. Whether it is to give something back, make a difference to the lives of others, support for a cause that you are passionate about, help the environment, and the list goes on and on. However, over the past few years I have come to understand that the volunteer actually gets more back than what they give.
There are so many benefits from volunteering, and they include:
- Volunteering connects you with others – meet new people and make new friends – at a time when loneliness is a huge issue in Australia.
- Volunteering builds self-confidence and self-esteem. Gain or develop new skills, knowledge, and experience.
- Volunteering is important for physical health… and mental health. The amazing thing is it’s not just about being physically active, its more than that. One study showed that volunteering may even help you live longer.
- Volunteering is important for a sense of purpose.
- Volunteering is important for your career and to improve employment prospects.
- And finally, something that became very real for me in 2020, is that when we do things for others, we stop thinking about ourselves. Volunteering helps you forget your own problems.
Read more detail about these benefits at: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/helping-people-changing-lives-the-6-health-benefits-of-volunteering.
As I spend a lot of time in the country, I know that in rural areas there is an incredibly strong culture of volunteering as volunteer involvement is crucial for the existence of country towns, community clubs, organisations, and events.
What has this all got to do with gardening?
As gardeners, there are many places we can do garden volunteering and I thought I would just suggest that maybe it’s something you, my reader could consider?
You might have run out of things to do in your own patch, or just want to be part of something ‘bigger’, where you know you are making a difference, so here are a few suggestions. There are all ‘Friends of’ groups linked with Botanic Gardens, Arboretums, public gardens, national parks, historic homes, and gardens; Environmental organizations such as Landcare; volunteer groups linked with your local council, supporting community gardens, parks and gardens, and environmental projects.
Volunteering does not even have to be in a formal sense. If you know a neighbour isn’t coping with their garden right now, maybe due to ill health, offer to give them a hand. A few years ago, I had several months when I couldn’t get into my garden. Some friends came to help me get some plants I had purchased planted when I didn’t have the ability, and that was absolutely wonderful. One of the most profound things during this time was a friend offering to give me a hand for a couple of hours. I had become quite depressed that I couldn’t get out and garden and didn’t know how to get back into it, as everything seemed too overwhelming.
Two hours in my garden working side by side with my friend, certainly didn’t get much done, however it reconnected me with my garden, and that was vital for my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing!