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Volunteering during a Pandemic

This past year's National Volunteer Week was - The Value of One, The Power of Many. As many communities hear they can start opening their doors, let's reflect on the acts of kindness that millions even billions of people are sharing around the world and the many acts that are a direct response to helping people manage their physical and mental health during this pandemic.

Volunteering offers us a different kind of wealth. The word wealth, comes from the old English word - "weal" which meant - welfare and wellbeing. Prior to the use of the word "weal" was the word "wel" which meant - good fortune. During this pandemic, we could all use a little more well being and good fortune... volunteering is something we need.

Many people have continued to volunteer on the front lines; however, during the pandemic many have felt reluctant to volunteer as it does typically place us in proximity to others. Given volunteering is one of those opportunities to help others while energizing ourselves, I sat down and thought about 3 ways people do volunteer their time, energy, and passion, without placing themselves in proximity to others.

  1. Loving Kindness - An ancient practice that we can practice with ease daily. Remember a time when you felt a deep heartfelt sense of love from someone. Focus on that memory, feel that feeling and then send that feeling to others... to your family, your friends, and then wider to your community, our nation and the world. Reaching further out with your mind and sending that feeling, that sensation, of love to others. What a gift to receive and to give. Check out best selling American Author- Sharon Salzberg for more information

  2. A shared smile - The pandemic has literally masked the smiles off of our faces. One antidote, to help us share the energy of our smile is to wear a mask that has a window to our smile. A study in Experimental Psychology shows that just moving our face into a smile, creates positive emotions for us and elevates our mood, even if we are faking a smile. So we can fake our way to a better mood and spread that positive energy- volunteering our time and energy, with a smile.

  3. Advocacy for a cause - We've heard that persons with disabilities are especially hard hit during this pandemic, with forced isolation, challenges reading lips if you are deaf or hard of hearing, challenges for those who are visually impaired who use touch to navigate their surrounding, potentially touching contaminated surfaces. Volunteering your time to send emails or letters to governments and businesses, to promote the use of masks with clear windows, to increase funding for computers for those who are isolated and don't have a computer, and educating others on the benefits of automatic doors, taps, soap and paper dispensers is an excellent way to volunteer.

We can volunteer without being hands on and these acts of volunteering can have a huge impact. If you are up for volunteering but still not sure how "out there" you want to be, here are 3 ways to add the essence of volunteering to your day, while brightening the days and lives of others, during this pandemic.

Wishing you a great big smile, from a heart filled with loving kindness, that is determined to help you with a worthy cause!

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