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Follow Your Heart! February is Heart Month
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Let’s have a heart-to-heart conversation about what’s really making us happy as we mark another month enduring the Coronavirus Pandemic. In “normal” years the cold winter months have us turning inside and inward but this past year; seclusion has taken on a whole new meaning. To combat the seemingly endless weeks of stay-at-home orders; many of us discovered something new; hobbies, recipes, and creative ways of keeping in-touch. Working from home strategies, managing child and pet care, finding fun ways to entertain – all of it has forced us to live life remotely. Unfortunately, far too many have discovered something else. A sense of loneliness, isolation and even moments of hopelessness creep in and are affecting our sense of well-being. So, while we fight to keep in-line with public health orders and patiently wait for our turn to be vaccinated; what can we do for ourselves to combat the negative effects of cold weather and isolation?
Well, gentle reader, eat your heart out; much research has been done on the matter and it’s clear; volunteering can give you a “helper’s high” and boosts your health. Research has repeatedly shown that working in the service of others improves physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Not only does a “feel-good” rush enhance positive feelings, but health benefits of volunteering also include a reduction in cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Lower cholesterol levels and improved immune function.
The social aspect of volunteering also promotes overall well-being. The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that people who remain actively engaged in life tend to have better mental health and are more capable of coping with life transitions than those who don’t. Volunteering has also been shown to decrease anxiety and depression, improve self-esteem and diminish the effects of stress. *(Wellness Matters, Canada’s Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness)
Other advantages of giving your time to others; particularly in a setting outside of home or work include interacting with others to have conversations around community happenings such as “Where can I get the best deals on hand sanitizer? Can you recommend a good dentist in the SE? I’m looking to pay a student to shovel my walk.”, etc.
So while you search your heart for meaning and look for ways to fill your time during the cold dark days of February, please head over to our volunteer page and read-up on the many opportunities to help feed fellow Calgarians who are in need of our support.