If you’re a caring and compassionate person, then there’s no greater feeling than knowing you’ve helped another person, in some way or another. Whether it’s big or small, there is a lot to be said for helping others and making the right steps to make the world a more positive and giving place. Positive mental health is becoming more and more talked about, with services like mental health counseling needed now more than ever.
If you’re looking to help as much as you can, you’ve probably thought about the bigger ways you can help others, such as charity work or even a career based around helping those in need. By working to help others, it’s not only about grand gestures, however. Simply being kind and more people-focused in your daily life will make a difference, too.
4 Voluntary Work Ideas if You Want to Give Back
Voluntary work is a great way to spend your spare time if you’re looking to give back more when you are not working. Voluntary work can be based around causes that you support or believe in, or maybe you’d simply like to explore any voluntary option which enables you to give back.
Here are four voluntary work ideas and charitable causes you can get involved with.
- Volunteer with Certain Charities
Check with official charities regarding any volunteers they may need. Charities often have a variety of opportunities, such as actively working with people in need, raising money or working in one of their charity shops for a few hours one afternoon. Be sure to check charities’ official job posting boards, such as on their website, to see which opportunities are available.
- Donate to Charities
If you can’t dedicate enough time to physical voluntary work, it doesn’t mean you can’t still help. Charities and good causes always need donations. Spend your time researching the best causes and ways you can donate your money always to make sure it goes to the right place. You can contribute to as many causes as you like, too, whether as a one-off or on a regular subscription service.
You can also focus on charities which help good mental health, by donating to services which support mental health counseling.
- Look for Causes Overseas
It may be that you want to take a break from your main career and dedicate all your time to a charitable cause. Taking the time out to travel for a long period to focus on philanthropic causes overseas is a great way to help. This allows you to work on the front line directly in the places which need help, and this is great for opportunities if you love spending time outdoors, such as agricultural and environmental causes where you can visit certain regions of particular countries.
- Spend Your Holiday Time Helping Out
During the holiday period, instead of spending your time doing what you usually do with eating far too much and spending a little too much on gifts, spend time in your community instead. At Christmas, you could volunteer at a soup kitchen or spend time trying to raise money for local charities. You can still do this around your own holiday commitments. Nevertheless, if you’re bored with the same holiday routine, it’s the perfect opportunity to reach out and help others who are alone during the holiday period.
People who don’t have access to supportive services like mental health counseling may truly appreciate extra company and support when they need it.
4 Career Options if You Want to Help Others
If you have a natural want to help others, and you would like to turn your passion for helping into the main focus of your life, then one key way to do this is to turn your passion into your career. There are many great avenues you can explore if you’re looking for a career which best enables you to help others, in a variety of ways.
No matter what subject or method you are teaching, education is always a vital resource in helping people become what they want to be and achieve their goals in life. The role of a teacher is such a fundamental one for any person, at any stage of their life.
For young students, a teacher can shape and support a growing individual. Often, teachers who are there at a young age are the ones most people remember being a positive influence on their education and development.
A teacher for older or adult students has the opportunity to support an adult going through necessary changes in their life, such as a return to education to help a career change or perhaps simply learning a new skill.
As a teacher, you have the opportunity to not only help others with their own development and education but also on a personal support level, such as being there when work becomes stressful, or problems arise.
- Become a Counselor
Counselors are essential for those struggling with a variety of problems in life, with a particular focus on mental health. If your passions lie with mental health and you would enjoy a career which focuses on helping people to overcome their issues and lead a more positive life, then a career in mental health counseling could be just the one for you.
Working in mental health counseling would allow you to put your natural abilities of caring, listening and supporting to good use, combining this with strategized and tailored treatment plans for your patients.
- Working Within Healthcare
Any job within healthcare is going to be fundamental for helping those in need. Whether it’s a doctor, nurse or any other attendant within a healthcare setting, you are going to be working every day to help and treat people who need it. Even clerical jobs within healthcare settings are fundamental for the smooth running of a practice which serves to help those in need.
Due to the healthcare industry being so broad, there are many different opportunities available depending on what kind of career path you would like to go down. Doctors, nurses and dentists are just some of the examples of what you can generally do, or you can work to study a specific specialization or field to narrow it down.
Or, relating to the previous point, if you’d like to work more in the realm of psychology and mental health healthcare, you can still find a job which supports this, like an assistant for someone qualified in mental health counseling.
- Emergency Services
If you want to help people directly on the front line, then work within the emergency services may appeal to you. Your options include the police, the fire service or emergency responders such as paramedics. Working within the emergency services requires a strong work ethic and mindset alongside compassion for people, due to the variety of difficult (and even dangerous) circumstances you may find yourself in working on the front lines and working to save lives. However, this is an extremely rewarding career avenue for those who wish to make a difference and be there for those in need, whether on a personal level or assisting the community.
6 Ways You Can Help People in Your Everyday Life and Make a Difference
Of course, helping other people doesn’t mean that you have to change your career or make significantly grand gestures actively. Assisting others to starts from very small steps you can easily implement into your everyday life. Often, it’s the simplest things which will resonate more with a lot of people, even strangers you pass on the street.
Here are six ways you can work to make a difference in your everyday life and help people.
- Be a Method of Support
You can help friends, family and even coworkers by being a method of support for them, whenever they need it. Make it known that you’re always open and ready to listen should they need advice, or to simply talk about anything.
It also makes a difference if you become more aware of those around you. People needing support or suffering from low mood may not always ask for help or make their troubles known. By being more aware and open, it may be that you can ask someone how they’re feeling or whether they need to talk if you notice they seem a little down. This can make a huge difference to someone who wants to talk but may not necessarily make the first step to ask for help.
Of course, there is only so much support you can offer, and those who are suffering from low mood or mental health illnesses may need support in other ways, such as mental health counseling.
If you find that your loved ones require professional support, they may not be in the right frame of mind or have the necessary energy, to search for help themselves, so you can always help by searching for mental health counseling on their behalf and initiate the first step.
- Send a Nice Message
Whether it’s a quick text, an email, or even an official letter or card in the post, the simplest messages to let someone know that you are thinking of them can go a long way. There doesn’t have to be an occasion for it or a particular subject — it could be as simple as sending someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while a message asking how they are.
Smile to strangers in the street as you pass them if you make eye contact or smile to your coworkers. Be sure to smile and say thanks to those who are working during your routine, such as the barista or waiter. Smiling can often make all the difference to someone’s day. You never know what other people are going through, and someone who is having a really bad day — for example, a waiter who has been inundated with rude customers — may appreciate that smile and act of simple kindness more than you know.
- Give Food to a Homeless Person
If you pass homeless people on the street, it’s better to give them food than cash so that you avoid the risk of them using the money for something other than food. If you already have food, consider sharing it with them, or giving it to them if you can easily buy another meal for yourself. Or actively buy a sandwich for a homeless person you see on the street if you wish. Be kind and respectful to those in need, or make sure you smile and make eye contact with them rather than pretending they are not there as you pass.
- Offer to Help
If you find yourself in a circumstance where you know you can alleviate the pressure on someone else or lend a helping hand, then you can do so. If you see a coworker struggling with their workload and you have some spare time, offer to help them with their work. Or offer to cover a shift if you see them struggling to try to plan for something personal. You could offer to babysit for your friends if they need a night out by themselves and you’re not doing anything else. Offer to pick up shopping for a loved one if they can’t easily get out of the house. Examples like these are easy ways you can pay more attention to those in need around you and help whenever needed.
- Join Others in Activities
If someone you know has a need to do something socially but has no one to do it with, you can always offer to join them. It might be that they need moral support and encouragement, such as joining a fitness class for the first time and needing an exercise partner. Perhaps someone you know wants to try a social activity but feels uncomfortable doing it alone, in which case you can always offer to join them. Maybe a loved one is attending their first mental health counseling session and would like moral support by you driving them there or simply waiting in the waiting area for them.
In working to help others, it’s also important to be kind to yourself, too. While working to be less selfish is an admirable goal, it’s also important to allow yourself to be selfish every once in a while, too. You can’t always give your time and energy to other people, especially if it means you’re giving too much, draining yourself or working too hard. To be in the best position and mindset to help other people, you first need to help yourself.
Therefore, it’s important in everything you do not to demand too much of yourself. There’s a difference between genuinely wanting to help others and worrying too much about what other people think so that you turn into too much of a people-pleaser.
There’s always the chance that your own wellbeing and mental health can suffer while you’re trying to do the best for everyone else. Be sure to seek appropriate mental health counseling if you ever feel like you’re suffering or need help for yourself.
Simply being kind in everything you do goes a long way; holding the door open for someone with a smile makes a significant difference compared to someone having a door slam shut on them. Plan ways you can help others using a schedule which works for you and your lifestyle so that you can always give back when it works best for you.