Volunteering as an act of self-care
I believe strongly in giving back. Volunteering. I think it is important for that work to be chosen freely, to be voluntary. Choosing service work that means something to you, personally is an act of Self-care. It brings purpose, connection, and meaning to you life when you support others freely.
Serving others doesn't have to look the same. You can choose to volunteer for a large non-profit, you can seek out individuals to help directly, or maybe you start your own campaign! The options are as endless as there are ideas.
My own current volunteering is focused around mental health. I teach the NAMI Family-to-Family program (in both Maine and New Hampshire). I co-facilitate a NAMI Support Group. I teach a program called Family Connections for a wonderful organization called NEA BPD. Those are the two big organizations I volunteer for.
I also do less formal unpaid service work. I am a monthly guest expert for a DIY video support group. I am a moderator for multiple Facebook groups for mental illness.
Discover how you can get involved
My volunteer work in the past has been focused around homeschooling, education, politics, natural disasters, public health, animal welfare, and housing. I've served on Non-profit boards even a Governor's Commission.
All of these experiences have served me as much as the people or animals I was hoping to help. Not always in the ways I would have expected. Not all the experiences were good, but even not-so-good experiences offered an opportunity to learn from.
I encourage you to think of service as self-care. Go out there and help others but be sure to choose wisely. Your purpose might be very different from the next person's. And the key to service work as self-care is choosing something that fuels you as opposed to drains you. Don't be afraid to try different things.