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Self Care Saturday: Acts of Service

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write this week for Self Care Saturday. I’ve already covered my three favorite self care things: meditating, journaling, and practicing Reiki. So I did what anyone does when they need an idea nowadays . . . I went to Google. And there are all kinds of suggestions for self care, everything from get a pedicure to make yourself a pot of tea to go for a walk. While I agree that those are all excellent suggestions, they weren’t really the types of things I had in mind when I set out to do these posts.

So I thought. And I thought some more. And then I remembered an email I got the other day. It was a response to a thank you that I sent to someone who did some volunteer work for me. In that thank you I said how much it meant for the people he helped to see him there and know he cares about them. And you know what he said? He said, I think it does more for me than it does for them.


I’m going to propose that volunteering is something that could be considered self care. It’s counter intuitive, I suppose, because generally self care is recognized as something you do strictly for yourself. The very name is self care which definitely implies something for one’s self. But maybe it doesn’t have to be something that’s just for one’s self. Maybe it can be something that you do for others, too.

I don’t think I have to tell you that helping others is rewarding and uplifting and wonderful. It fills you with a sense of purpose and it makes you feel valued in a very unique way. I’ve experienced this over and over again when I volunteer with Kiwanis. Sometimes it’s hard, it takes away from time when I could be doing something else, but even when it’s hard it’s good. It makes me feel better to make a sacrifice, to do something that makes a difference in someone’s life. To work with other volunteers and get something done. It definitely does my heart good to know that I helped someone else. And what’s better for self care than caring for my own heart?

Absolutely nothing.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Your post reminds me of something I heard years ago: “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” John Bunyan.

    Yes, doing for others is the best inadvertent way to do the best thing for yourself!

  2. I wholeheartedly agree. I am going to make a better effort to volunteer more. We’ve done it as a family a couple of times this year, and it really did make me feel so wonderful.

  3. I started volunteering at the local hospice house a few years ago and now I also volunteer at a dog shelter. They are extremely different but both help others through some difficult times. I found my sweet dog at the shelter after someone left her on the side of the road pregnant and very sick. Its been a long road for her but she is doing so much better now. I know volunteering has been good for others and good for me as well.

  4. I think the connections you make with other people are so beneficial when volunteering. Working in a groups with everyone’s shoulder to the same task always feel good. I think you are right, this is a perfect way to do self-care! You feel better about yourself and you help others. What’s better than that? This is a great reminder to do something for someone else this week!

  5. doing for others is a key part of my faith tradition. I’d love to see this whole “giving thing” catch on … can you even imagine what our communities (our country, our world) would look like if we all (or even a small fraction of us) acted like this?! xo!!

  6. Great thing to reiterate. I finally found a volunteer opportunity nearby that helps homeless single moms. While it’s not one of those things that takes me out of my comfort zone it does bring me joy.

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