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Healthy You

The Benefits of Volunteering During the Holiday Season

Monday, December 16, 2019 10:16 AM

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the gift-giving frenzy of the holidays, but what about giving the gift of “time” to those in need? Volunteering is a great activity for families to spend quality time together and to refocus on the simple pleasures in life. Volunteering during the holidays is a great way to boost your health, both mentally and physically. 


Ying Hensel, MD, Internal Medicine at NorthShore, breaks down how volunteering not only does good for the community but for your health as well.

  • It offers a sense of purpose. Volunteers have a sense of purpose when they donate their time or skills. This is more prevalent in older adults who are experiencing the loss of major role identities, such as wage-earner or parent.
  • It offers a sense of accomplishment. After volunteering, it has been found that volunteers feel a sense of individual gains and accomplishment. This boosts self-esteem by having a sense of pride in identity
  • It produces happy hormones. Performing volunteer acts and services lessens depression rates in people who volunteer. It also reduces stress.
  • It offers life satisfaction. Volunteering has been found to give people more satisfaction than working for pay.
  • It lowers blood pressure. Adults over the age of 50 who volunteer benefit from lower blood pressure. High blood pressure has been found to contribute to heart disease, stroke and premature death.
  • You may live longer. It has been found that volunteers tend to have a longer lifespan than those who do not volunteer due to lower blood pressure, lower depression rates and a sense of purpose.
  • It's a good workout. If you do physical volunteer work it is a great way to get in physical activity, which has many other benefits attached to it. For volunteering such as tutoring, you are working out your mental health and keeping your brain function sharp!

Does volunteering sound like something you are interested in? Learn more about how you can volunteer at NorthShore.