Blog by OneKind Fundraiser, Lauren Semple
I must admit, I’m finding the current situation difficult to handle like most other people are. The sacrifice the NHS and our services are making is undeniable; putting others’ lives before their own and staying at home all the time is making me feel a little useless (although I know it’s the best thing I can do to help).
I live alone (with my two cats, Monkey and Banana) and have been working from home, like the rest of the team for over a week now. I can’t deny that this all feels very surreal. As someone who is used to being in the office and busy most nights, adjusting to living and working at home alone has been tough. Just coping with the normal day to day tasks of looking after my cats, keeping up with housework, putting on the washing and continue working hard on our campaigns has been a challenge. My cats have been a lifeline and I think they are enjoying have a personal servant on hand. Banana is also adjusting as he would usually come to the office with me. As an inquisitive 7-month-old, he is missing out on his usual social interactions. We have had a few mornings on the front step, so he can potter around and get some fresh air, but I know he is missing everyone. Having them there when I need a cuddle has been a real blessing.
Working as a team:
However, I have never felt closer to the OneKind team than I do now. We are all so conscious that we need to maintain our strong bond and communicate more right now. It’s important that we can continue focusing on the tasks at hand; as well as checking in on each other as friends. Working at home alone and focusing on your individual piece of work can isolate you so I have appreciated how quickly we have all adapted to zoom meetings and calls to check on our well-being. That means a lot.
We are all adjusting – don’t be too hard on yourself
I am used to working from home occasionally but being alone 24 hours a day and balancing work and home life has been difficult. I’ve now realised that while I am passionate about my job and am committed to doing my best, I am also trying not to be too hard on myself. There are times where I find it hard to focus. We are all going through a challenging time with new restrictions on our daily life in ways we could never have imagined. It’s ok to feel a little low, miss loved ones and friends, missing exercise and our social lives while acknowledging that it’s so important right now. I didn’t quite appreciate how those things helped me emotionally and kept my motivation so high. But most of us have never experienced anything like this before and (hopefully) never will again so I think we need to remind ourselves the world is in crisis – and we are all learning how to function within it.
Getting creative and staying productive
My job at OneKind is all about relationships and I absolutely love it. I build relationships with supporters, members, local businesses and I know that right now it’s more crucial than ever to maintain; both professionally and personally. Having breakfast with my sister over WhatsApp and both sisters in the evening, lunch with my friends on video, is really important to me. Other than the cashier in the supermarket (once or twice a week at most), I am not seeing anyone else. Finding new ways to stay in touch has been fun and I’ve realised just how important those moments are – they have also reminded me just how valuable communication is to our supporters and volunteers. The support from our supporters has been fantastic and sometimes it’s nice just to read a simple message which reminds us that supporters really do care for us as people and believe in the work we are doing. That has lifted my spirits no end.
It has also meant that we’ve had to rethink our approaching to fundraising. We still need and rely on support; but with events cancelled or postponed, people worried about their financial situations and others who want to send us donations unable to go out, we need to find other ways. It’s also important for people who want to volunteer with us to feel productive. So, it’s time to get creative! We’ve been spending time thinking of new ideas to keep everyone involved and able to support our work which has been really interesting. Lots of ideas and tools coming soon!
The hardest challenge for me has been the supermarkets – everything is taking longer and having a sister and family in isolation, being the only person who could do their shopping certainly added pressure. I wanted to make sure the children had everything they need, but with the current situation, it meant I trailed four supermarkets and spent three hours from start to finish as so many had sold out of the simple things. The anxiety I felt taking that time out of my work time was really high and will take some time to get used to. Similarly, shopping for my dietary requirements has meant at least two hours out of my day just to get supplies. But it is what it is, and I can’t change that for now. I’m now trying to go as infrequently as possible and avoid that stress as much as I can and accept that I will make that work time up elsewhere.
What I have learned and my new plan
- We are all literally in the same boat – every single person – so we need to give ourselves a break and lower our expectations of each other. Everyone is doing their best.
- That life right now is a bit of a jumbled mess (until we figure out new routines) – coping with changes to everyday life and working – it will take time.
- I’m grateful I work with an amazing, supportive team who genuinely care about each other personally and we are all supporting each other to work hard for Scotland’s animals. We are an incredibly passionate team.
- Mental health matters – so it’s ok to take time out to exercise, read, call friends or play with the cat.
- To help me fit everything in without feeling guilty, I have worked a day to day plan, hour by hour, including my work tasks, exercise time, reading, housework and video lunches with friends and family.
So far, week two has felt much better than week one… and that’s another positive!