Jumping dog in snow

Winters in Canada can be long and cold. It can be tempting to hibernate as much as possible outside of work or school obligations. One way to survive the winter in an enjoyable way – and help combat seasonal affective disorder at the same time – is to give back to the community.

Not only does volunteering make your community a better place, it improves your mental health. According to the Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study, volunteering can lower your stress levels, make you feel physically healthier and increase your overall satisfaction with life.

Volunteering also connects you to your community and introduces you to new people. Being around other people can improve your mood and help combat social isolation. Through volunteering, you meet like-minded people who are passionate about the same causes you care about.

Finally, volunteering can help you develop new skills or hone existing ones, turning the winter into a productive season. Skills-based volunteering highlights the mutually beneficial relationship of volunteering, benefiting both the volunteer and the organization.

And if it’s just too cold to leave the house, many organizations offer virtual volunteering opportunities that can be done from the comfort of the warm indoors. With technology, there are many ways you can contribute to an organization without being physically present.

To find a winter volunteer opportunity that’s right for you, reach out to your local volunteer centre. Youth between the ages of 15 and 30 can also access our online volunteer matching tool.