It’s nearly three weeks into the new year and for some of us, resolutions are already a distant memory. We’re not eating a plant-based diet or running 5 miles before work. I read somewhere that resolutions are a to-do list for the first two weeks of January.
Maybe a more effective route to improving how we’re living is to think about we impact others. Are we spending enough time with loved ones who need and deserve our attention? Are we taking care of ourselves so we can live as long, active, healthy lives as possible? Are we making the time to do for others and for our communities?
Volunteering in our communities contributes to both physical and mental
health. Making time to do for others is a form of self-care! A wealth of research has shown that volunteering makes people happy. By measuring hormones and brain activity, researchers have discovered that being helpful to others delivers pleasure. It also helps you stay physically healthy and active. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate, tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills.
If you’re not already a volunteer, there’s no time like right now to get started. Next Monday is the national holiday honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and is often celebrated as a day of service. Perhaps you can find a volunteer activity to take part in on Monday and beyond.
Dr.King’swell knownquote“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve” exhorts us to do for others. He went on to say,“You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace.”
When we think about how our lives can matter, we might make a new resolution that we keep — finding ways to help others, beginning next Monday on Martin Luther King Day.
Michelle A. Taylor
Ed.D. President and CEO United Way of Delaware