Managing Health & Wellbeing During Covid19 – Volunteering Your Way
Posted: Tue, 02 Jun 2020 20:53 by Adam Warden
On day two of Volunteers' Week the theme is Health & well-being, in this q&a we catch up with Alice our Community Projects Manager and Volunteering who has been volunteering her time to support the community during lock-down.
How long have you been volunteering and what motivated you to first get involved in volunteering?
I'm not new to volunteering and have been doing it for about 2 years, however the volunteering role I am doing at the moment, I started about a month ago.
With working from home and juggling my home life, my daughter's life and the general anxiety which lockdown has brought on, I found I needed something external to put my time to and I wanted to help those in need who were experiencing difficult circumstances.
What volunteering are you currently doing?
The role I do now involves collecting parcels, which have been put together at the community groups base and choosing the postcodes I am happy to drive to. I'm happy to go right across the city, to parts I'm not so familiar with as well as parts I know well. I plan a route when dropping multiple deliveries and every person who comes to the door are so grateful for the time you've taken to get to them.
What impact has volunteering had on you?
This volunteering has really helped my state of mind and wellbeing; when I feel my mood is dropping, I often find I need to feel practical and to reboot myself. The volunteering does that for me and in a different way to how I feel when talking on the phone or sitting at my laptop; it's physically practical. I get to see parts of my home city I've not known before and for every different household and home I encounter, every greeting has been the same; one of huge thanks and warmth. As you can imagine this gives me a huge sense of wellbeing knowing that they have something of what they need and I've helped get it to them. I also get a bit of a work out from it…especially if there's stairs.
What's surprised you most about your volunteering experiences?
I would have to say that I am not easily surprised and certainly not naïve to the hardships in life, but this volunteering has ensured that I remember and that I see first-hand the reality of some quite difficult living situations. Whether that be multiple occupancy households all trying to isolate from each other, or families living with no outdoor space and the difficulties that can bring or to people living on their own and missing out on human interaction – If there's one thing which hasn't surprised me, it's the solidarity that people have shown in helping others where needed and giving when they have and others do not.
If someone was thinking about volunteering, what would your advice be to them?
For me volunteering is very personal and has to fit within my comfort zone and my own abilities. If someone asked me for advice, I would say be honest with what it is you want to get out of it and what your limitations are; we all have them and it's perfectly ok to say when you're not up to a role or if something doesn't suit you. Keeping this in mind it's good to enquire about a role and all its duties before taking it on, ask as many questions as you need and remember that if something doesn't fit you can ask to change or try something new. Equally you might find out about other roles whilst you are volunteering, don't be shy to ask about them and spread your wings, you will likely learn new skills and meet some interesting people from different walks of life.
I volunteer to give back, and that improves my mental health, my physical health and overall wellbeing. There are many reasons to volunteer and give your time freely, but whatever it may be, you are likely to come away with feelings of self-worth, achievement and a smile on your face…what better reason to go volunteer.