As 21 January – labelled the most depressing day of the year – hits, the National Lottery Community Fund and Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) are calling on people throughout Wales to give Blue Monday a rosy glow by volunteering their time at a local community group or charity.
In our latest blog, Fiona Liddell, WCVA Volunteering Co-ordinator, explains how volunteering y0ur time can wash away those winter blues . . .
The winter blues is a recognised clinical condition. It’s a milder form of the more clinically serious ‘seasonal affective disorder’, and about one in six of us suffer from it, apparently.
As with many a recipe for keeping in good mental health, the advice for combating the winter blues includes:
– get out more (Physical activity and exposure to direct sunlight help)
– meet people
– take up something new (Like a hobby)
It’s hardly surprising, is it, that volunteering has come to be associated with wellbeing and with that ‘feelgood factor’?
It’s a neat way of addressing some, if not all of the above pieces of advice, for a start. And that doesn’t have to mean volunteering in the great outdoors either (although there’s plenty of opportunity for that, if that’s your ‘thing’). Just getting there and back will get you off the sofa, out of the house, and moving physically.
Whatever you do, you are likely to come into contact with new people if you volunteer. Possibly people you would never normally meet. Like minded people, perhaps. Possibly people who help you put your own troubles into perspective.
Something new? It might be that long awaited chance to do what you really love, but never get around to, or to explore a field of work before you pursue it career-wise. You can indeed make a positive difference to other people and your community at the same time as doing something you enjoy.
Later this month sees the launch of a new website www.volunteering-wales.net . Whatever your interest or passion, I defy anyone to browse through it thousands of opportunities and fail to find something to blow away those winter blues!