What do you think drives good health? Do you automatically think about diet and exercise? Those are definitely two important elements of health, but there are some others you might not realize have a big impact as well: Spirituality, community, self-esteem and self-worth.
It might seem a bit cumbersome to try to tackle all of those in one blog post, but in reality it’s quite simple and they can all be accomplished easily if you add one activity into your life: Volunteering.
When you volunteer you become a part of a community of people that have at least one interest in common with you. Because you are sharing yourself with others, helping someone or something, you begin to feel good about yourself and as a result your self-esteem and self-worth expand.
As many of you know, I volunteer at an animal shelter and I am rewarded by the friendships and camaraderie with staff and volunteers, the joy of seeing pets find their forever families and having the opportunity to spend time with some of these precious animals. I go home feeling happier and more in balance than you can imagine … There’s not much that’s healthier than that!
I have friends who help cook and serve meals at a homeless shelter, play games with families at Ronald McDonald house, help with gardening at non-profits, usher at church, serve as prayer chaplains to their congregations, support staff at battered women’s shelters, help out seniors who need home repairs, greet people visiting someone in the hospital and re-shelve books at the library.
There are so many opportunities, some formal, some just in the moment. In my neighborhood little magical things happen:
- Someone is late getting home and their garbage cans are put back.
- Snow magically disappears from a sidewalk and/or driveway.
- Newspapers are on front porches instead of in the driveway.
- Tree limbs are removed or grass is cut.
- Perennials are given away.
So, make healthy choices when it comes to food and exercise, but don’t neglect that spiritual side that craves connection. Take it to the streets and be the change!