If you’ve ever felt like your life was being consumed by work, you might want to start volunteering.
While it may seem counterintuitive, a new study published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine and reported by NYMag found that people who volunteer are happier with their work-life balance, no matter how much actual free time they’re left with.
The researchers surveyed 746 full- and part-time Swiss workers, 35% of whom reported volunteering at least a few times a year, about their job demands and work-life balance.
They found that those who volunteered more likely to report feeling less stressed and less burned out at work. Even more surprisingly, those who volunteered reported a better work-life balance than those who did not volunteer regularly.
The researchers write:
“Volunteering, albeit energy and time-consuming, may contribute to a greater sense of balance for workers which might in turn positively influence health.”
The study seems to support the idea that it’s not so much about how much time you have, but rather, what you choose to do with your time, and most importantly, who you choose to give your time to.