7 great reasons to consider volunteering in retirement

While retirement marks the end of one part of your life, it can also be a launch pad for new opportunities.

Finishing work can be a challenging new phase, and it regularly ranks highly on the scale of stressful life events, but it can also provide you with the chance to enjoy a new lease of life.

You may enjoy the freedom of not having to work. Or you may also feel lonely, isolated, and quite bored at times. Either way, it can be useful to develop new interests that fill part of your time.

One activity you could consider is to start volunteering in retirement. According to volunteer charity Volunteering Matters, more than 10,000 people over the age of 50 volunteer with them across the UK.

You have the time, experience, and a wealth of wisdom that could help countless people. As a result, giving your services could be a meaningful and rewarding way for you to spend your time.

Volunteering has many great benefits for you, too. So, to help celebrate International Volunteer Day on 5 December, here are some of the many advantages it can bring to you during retirement.

1. Learn a new skill or put old ones to use

Once you’ve retired, you have the luxury to indulge in hobbies you may have never had the opportunity to do. Volunteering could help you try something new and expand your horizons – and you may even discover hidden talents you never knew you had.

Meanwhile, if you have skills from your working life that you enjoyed using, volunteering can provide the ideal opportunity to keep putting them to use. Many organisations could benefit from the wealth of experience that you have.

2. Gives you a chance to make new friends

Once you’ve left the world of work, the regular day-to-day interactions that you used to have with colleagues can be very much missed. Volunteering can help fill that gap and enable you to have that regular social interaction with people.

Whether you’re working with kids, animals, or adults, volunteering provides ample opportunity to connect with others who share similar passions to you.

Research carried out by Volunteer Scotland shows that 21% of people start volunteering to meet friends, and 20% of those who volunteered at least once a month make a new friend.

Volunteering can provide opportunities for you to extend your social contacts in a fun and purposeful way. It strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, too.

3. Increases your feelings of satisfaction and happiness

Volunteering for a good cause, such as your favourite charity, is a great way of contributing to your local community, and can give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a difference. That’s why people who assist those in need and give back to others and their communities tend to be happier.

A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies and reported by the Washington Post compared people who didn’t volunteer to those who had volunteered in the past year.

The study showed that the volunteers were more satisfied with their lives and rated their overall health better. It also found that people who started to volunteer during the study became happier over time.

4. Helps you to adjust to retirement

Often when people retire, they struggle with a sense of purpose and a lack of structure within their lives.

In particular, high-powered, work-oriented individuals who were always on the go with something to do can find it immensely difficult to lose that part of their lives. As a result, they can struggle more than most with the adjustment to being retired.

Volunteering can help to provide that purpose and structure to your day, helping you adjust to the pace of retirement.

5. Builds confidence

Studies completed by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions and reported by Second Wind Movement found that volunteers had strengthened levels of self-esteem and self-confidence.

This is because volunteering allows you to practise and develop new skills, while enabling you to meet regularly with like-minded people. This may build your confidence that might have disappeared if you lost your sense of purpose and belonging after leaving the workplace.

6. Can improve your quality of life

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIH), participating in meaningful activities that keep the mind and body active can lower the risk of health issues such as dementia, and improve the longevity of your life.

Volunteering can help counteract the effects of stress, anger, or anxiety that you may be feeling. This is because the social aspects of helping and working with others can positively influence your psychological wellbeing.

Regular contact with others along with making new friends also enables you to build a support network, which can protect you against depression.

As reported by Help Guide, volunteering with animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.

7. Helps you to overcome difficult times such as bereavement

If you have been through a difficult time, such as the end of a relationship or a bereavement for example, you can feel lonelier and more isolated from others once you have retired. Being retired could make dealing with such big life events even more difficult.

Volunteering, meanwhile, can help to take your mind off things and provide the distraction necessary to help you to move on. It can also be a great way to meet other people who may be going through something similar, offering valuable empathy from someone who knows exactly how you feel.

Get in touch

If you need any help or advice on how to obtain the retirement you want, please get in touch. Email enquiries@rosebridgeltd.com or call 01204 300010.

Please note

This article is no substitute for financial advice and should not be treated as such. To determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances, please contact us.


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