Are you like me, at the first sign of winter frowning and hunkering and not really wanting to stick your nose outside until spring? It’s cold, it’s dark, and I’ve literally broken my leg because of a slip and fall on ice—all physical and emotional reasons for me to hibernate.
Or perhaps you, like some folks I know, are practically a Yeti. The moment the mercury rises above 60 degrees, you stay inside with the air conditioning cranked, asking yourself why you don’t live farther north. Summer is a time of inactivity for you because it’s just too hot, and you don’t get a lot of Vitamin D because the sun is just too bright.
Well, allow me to propose an antidote to our seasonal mental and physical malaise, whatever form it may take. That antidote is—ta-da!—volunteering!
No, really, bear with me on this. I’m not just saying this because I work for an organization of rock star volunteers. Thanks to my fellow program coordinator Carrie Porter pointing me towards the science (which is where my geeky brain feels at home), I can say with certainty that volunteering is good for you.
According to Dr. James Beckerman, a cardiologist with Providence Health Institute, “one of the most impactful ways to help yourself is by helping someone else.” Among other health benefits, when we volunteer, the brain produces pleasure hormones like dopamine. A study that researchers in the United Kingdom conducted in 2020 found that volunteering produces happiness over time. And “people who volunteered at least monthly reported better mental health than less frequent volunteers.”
And that emotional benefit impacts our physical health, as well. Good mental health has been linked to a decrease in a variety of acute and chronic physical health problems. In other words, volunteering positively impacts your mind, which positively impacts your body!
Here at CASA of Yellowstone County, we are always looking for more members of our community who will step up and become highly trained volunteer Advocates for children in foster care. Would you please consider taking the first step toward becoming a CASA and call our office at (406) 259-1233? Or you can email our development director, Emily Gaudreau, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your brain and body will thank you!