If there is one thing I learnt during the first lockdown and that stayed with me to this day, is that I didn’t know how much I was craving time for activities that feel worthwhile, that nourish my sense of purpose and community.
Acts of service towards others or contributing to a cause you care about have a tremendous impact not only on the receiver, but also on the giver.
Learn more about how social connections and acts of service are beneficial for our wellbeing in this article by Chief Medical Officer of Betterspace, Dr Iain Jordan
The pace at which I was juggling work, leisure, staying healthy and community service in the pre-pandemic world had become unsustainable. I found myself having to rearrange my priorities to stay afloat. Guided by a sense of urgency, I would ask myself: “what is it that can wait?” It always ended up being my core needs, including some fundamental aspects of wellbeing: sense of purpose and community. Work could not wait, the commute could not wait, social commitments could not wait, travelling could not wait. Committing to a volunteering session? When I’ll have time. Learning about new charities and how to support them? Tomorrow. Staying up to date with causes that matter to me and supporting them? It’s going to have to be another day. And so weeks were going by, and I was left depleted of energy and purpose.
When forced to a halt, the pervasive sense of happiness and relief I felt for finally being able to make time to think and act, made me realise how badly I had been neglecting some of my most fundamental needs, and how much I needed to revisit how I set my priorities.
The sense of satisfaction after an act of service to your community is a true mood booster, and supporting causes that matter to you is incredibly fulfilling, especially at times when all of your certainties have been taken away from you.
My promise has since been, of course: never ever will I ever neglect this aspect of my wellbeing again.
Have I kept it? It’s an ongoing journey of reshuffling priorities, exploring new opportunities and committing to persevere.
Some things which could help
In my journey to discovering new purposeful opportunities in my community, I found some of the resources curated by Betterspace very helpful. Here are my top 6:
Charity Choice, Charity directory and fundraising website https://app.betterspace.uk/resource#act_umlg1a6xofo056u0d8avbk1z1c25a09a
Do-It.org, The UK’s national volunteering database, making it easy for anyone to volunteer in their community: https://app.betterspace.uk/resource#act_kzl7lfrusan4rxslgfxws2ffmd6b7h0g
Reach Volunteering, connecting people, skills and good causes: https://app.betterspace.uk/resource#act_75618810-5413-11eb-9695-891512505a86
Let’s Fund, to discover and fund breakthrough research, policy and advocacy projects: https://app.betterspace.uk/resource#act_jz4j6rl8a7m3a17donpj4as35ad2p1q8
People United, using the arts and creativity to encourage empathy and kindness: https://app.betterspace.uk/resource#act_247f11e0-8746-11eb-a7dc-eb855187772b
Ecologi, a project to invest your money into removing more greenhouse gasses than your own carbon footprint puts in: https://app.betterspace.uk/resource#act_as9htq6ipbpnj4l1dxves7k5mpnfqi8q
BetterSpace is the employee wellbeing platform putting control where it belongs: in the hands of the individual employee. Our groundbreaking solution has been developed with medical and domain expertise and is aligned to our Six Pillars of Wellbeing. BetterSpace empowers your workforce to understand and fulfill their mental health needs.
This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.
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