Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Guest Post: NewLifeOutlook - Volunteering when you have fibro

Hi there lovelies!

The lovely Alyssa from NLO contacted me about writing a guest post for this blog.  You can find this post below, and it is certainly an interesting read!

Happy Reading!

Till next time,

Naomi x

Eric Patterson is a professional counselor in western Pennsylvania, who has been working for the last 10 years to help children, teens and adults achieve their goals and live happier lives. By night, he is a dad, husband, runner, and a writer for NewLifeOutlook.


Volunteering When You Have Fibro


Surviving and thriving with fibromyalgia takes a certain degree of selfishness. You have to focus on yourself and your needs before anything else can be accomplished. Taking your medications, getting enough exercise, and attendingappointments can seem like a full-time job at times.


If you are investing too much time and energy in other people or other activities, there will be nothing left for yourself, and the tasks you are working on will not end well. Think about it: positive decision-making and good judgment take a certain level of personal wellness. If you cannot take care of yourself, you will not be in a good position to care for others. 


However, as important as it is to put yourself and your health first, it’s also important to avoid becoming too self-centered.Egotism results in dwindled relationships, isolation, and lower self-esteem.


Move to Balance


If you spend too much time being selfless, you will be unhappy. Likewise, if you spend too much time being selfish you will be unhappy. The solution — find a level of balance between the two.


Too many people make the mistake of swinging wildly from one extreme to the other. If you are selfish, do not move all the way to a completely selfless stance. Moving from selfless to completely selfish will do no good, either. Finding the middle ground is challenging, but rewarding. 


Volunteering: A Great Option


Before you scoff at the idea of volunteering, remember that the undertaking encompasses a vast range of activities, tasks, levels of structure, and time commitments. Volunteering is a highly rewarding endeavor for so many people looking to add a level of altruism to their life. Altruism allows you to shift the focus slightly from yourself to someone else. This is exactly what you are looking for.


Volunteering leads to benefits like:


• Practicing problem-solving skills. Sure. You have more than your fair share of problems that need solving, but by working to resolve the problems of others, you can gain a better understanding of your own problems. This new knowledge helps you view your own issues with a fresh perspective that lends itself to new solutions.
• Building new, desirable connections with others.Many people with fibromyalgia become isolatedfeeling that no one understands their situation and thatthey are being judged harshly. But a lack of relationships is troublesome because you will be void of new experiences to counteract the past. Volunteering gives you a new opportunity to be around people who are interested in the same ideas and share the same values you do. With luck, your new volunteering relationships can exist outside of your volunteer hours and crossover into your social life.
• Learning a new skill or trade. People who are committed to life-long learning are happier people. This is why you should consider volunteer options that are unlike the undertakings of your past. If you spent years sitting in an office, volunteering for outdoor activities could be a great fit. Perhaps you’ll develop a green thumb, or hone your artistic skills. The options are endless, so feel free to experiment.
• Gaining new accomplishments. When you are stuck with only yourself to focus on, you become responsible for all of the good and bad in your life. Without outside influence, there is too much pressure on you. Volunteering helps to move the focus awayfrom you and to other people and things in your life. Reaching a new accomplishment as a volunteer may be easier than reaching one at home. This will boost your mood and sense of pride.
• Boosting your heath. The results are in. Research has shown that people who engage in volunteer opportunities receive health benefits from their actions. No, volunteering will not cure your fibro, but it can make your symptoms seem more manageable. You don’t even have to devote huge amounts of time to see the results. The National Corporation for National and Community Service reports that you only need to volunteer 100 hours per year to receive health benefits. That’s only two hours per week.


What Opportunities to Take


Now that you are interested in volunteering, you must narrow down the options. Depending on your resources, transportation, and health situation, you should consider a volunteer opportunity that is:

• A reasonable distance from your home.
• Flexible enough to work around your schedule and appointments.
• Rigid enough to hold you accountable.
• Appropriate for your physical and mental abilities. 
• Rewarding and motivating.
• Appropriate for the level of socialization you are looking for.


You can work with animals, children, or the elderly. You can build new homes or Lego castles. The truth is what you do is not as important as the choice to do something. 


Find your balance between selfishness and selflessness with volunteering. You can help others as you help yourself.

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