Mind Your Mind: Volunteering ideas

My therapist once told me that the act of giving back to others can make a difference in your life.

Volunteering, or just lending a helping hand, has so many benefits, but for me personally, it increases my self-esteem and adds purpose to my day. There are a million ways to volunteer and contribute on and off campus.

I do have to say, though, that students are incredibly busy. Trust me, I get it! You’re constantly running around for school and work. But, if you find yourself having some extra free time this summer, spend some of it giving back. It’s a nice break from the usual hustle and bustle of university life.

Sometimes, I find that volunteering can be draining. So, I volunteer for a few months, then take a break. When I feel better and ready to give back again, I start volunteering. It’s important to recognize your limits (again, I really need to listen to my own advice at times)! It’s nice to help others but you need to be taking care of yourself first.

Volunteering can be a way to explore interests you don’t otherwise get the opportunity to. It can open doors to potential employment opportunities and can bring you an immense amount of joy.

Some ways to give back include:

  • Working a shift at a learning centre.
  • Writing cards to my loved ones.
  • Volunteering at an animal shelter.
  • Volunteering at the AMS food bank.
  • Tutoring or babysitting children for free.
  • Volunteering at a yoga or spin class studio.
  • Picking up a volunteer shift at Sprouts.
  • Donating blood.
  • Volunteering at a hospital.
  • Mowing grass for your neighbours.
  • Helping your friends move.
  • Volunteering to host a neighbourhood clean-up through cleanup@vancouver.ca.

What are some ways you give back?

This article was originally published in November 2021. It has been updated to reflect its publishing in the June 2022 print issue.

The authors of this column are not mental health professionals. If you need additional support, please contact Student Health Services, the Sexual Assault Support Centre and/or the Wellness Centre. In case of an emergency, call 911.