Volunteering – what’s not to like?

Many of our participants decide that volunteering is a really positive first step back into the workplace.

Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.

You’re doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment.

Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity.

You can develop your skills alongside all of this so really, what’s not to like?

The Universe and Our Mental Health

When I was asked to write my next blog, I spent some time thinking about what this topic would be about. I then began to think about the Super Full Moon, a cosmic phenomenon whereby the Moon appears to expand and become significantly brighter than usual.

Personally, I find the Universe fascinating and relaxing! It’s a proven fact that the Moon can have an impact on our situations. Astrological signs have been utilised throughout history to assist in the determination of the future, and have been closely associated with their potential ability to predict certain life events. Of course, many people are sceptical about the use of star signs, although in some instances it may help those who are unsure of their personal trajectory and take comfort in trusting in a superior, omnipresent force.

Worrying about small things

Alternatively, the example of the Universe could illustrate the pointlessness of worrying over trivial matters in our personal and professional lives. Sometimes, merely observing the magnanimity of the Universe can help individuals cope with the smaller day-to-day issues without feeling overwhelmed by them. In this sense, we can appreciate that in such a large and extensive Universe, our own issues can be put into manageable context.

If we can let some of our own worries go we may feel better placed to be able to concentrate on all of the good things that life has to offer each one of us. The smallest of things can bring us great joy and appreciation!

I love to look up at the stars on a clear evening and find that my curiosity wonders in relation to the other life that exists out there. We can see millions of stars in the Universe and a myriad of other phenomena (including, on occasion throughout the year, a Super Full Moon), all fascinating sights that do not cost anything and can leave a lasting image in our mind reminding us that anything is possible!

Looking to the sky

Sometimes it is helpful for our mental health to take a moment to look up at the Universe on a clear night and to appreciate the enormity of it – we may even find that we can more properly tackle the challenges in our life once we have reinstated a sense of proportion. Looking up at the night sky can help us feel better connected to something much bigger than yourself, as well as assisting the practise of mindfulness including helping to relax and calm the brain (especially when it is overworked, stressed or preoccupied). The Universe can also help us to be more mentally adventurous, which could lead us to new opportunities, improved mental health and a better quality of life.

Being outside, and your mental health

Being outside is something that your parents and teachers encouraged when I was younger. I loved being outdoors especially in the lighter and warmer months. I never really thought about why I was encouraged to be outside though. Scroll forward a few years and having my own kids, I now say the same to them and how being outside is good for you. Being open with our kids about mental health and how being outside is good for our physical and mental wellbeing is a great way for them to understand the importance of just being outside. I tell them about how our brain behaves and the feel-good factors that are produced when we are outside and enjoying our surroundings.

What’s going on?

Now I know we all don’t live near a park, by the sea or some fab nature reserve or even have a garden but you don’t need to. I live in a built-up area but I thought I’d start looking around my surroundings of where I actually live. What I mean is what’s going on, you know on my doorstep? I have been noticing the green space (although droughted by our summer sun!) the space there and what’s around it. If there is a bench, then I’ll have a seat and just people watch and watch the world go by.

It has made me think about my usual driving to a park, a place of interest, paying for petrol, parking and even an entrance fee. So, when I really thought about it in a different light, I’m looking to go somewhere to feel happy, peace, calm, blow the cobwebs away and serenity. I have this on my doorstep and it’s for free!

My Surroundings

I’ve now spent time walking to most of the green spaces in my area and really noticing the surroundings. I like looking at the different house styles, the birds playing and their tweeting, insects climbing over each other and even signposts that I’d never really noticed! I like how I get the same feelings as I did as a child, being outside and just doing nothing but having fun exploring.

Who would have thought that discovering what’s going on in my surroundings and taking time to just sit for a bit, people watch and chat to others sharing the same free space, could be so exhilarating and great for my mental health?