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Six Things AFP Members Are Doing to Stay Healthy During COVID

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The COVID pandemic has resulted in most fundraisers working from home, even as they deal with a volatile giving environment. There are many similarities in peoples’ situations, yet each person faces a unique set of challenges. There is often additional stress on the family, whether it involves trying to home school children or missing loved ones who don’t live under the same roof. Many families have been financially impacted.

We surveyed AFP members to find out what they are doing to try to stay healthy during COVID and collected some wise advice to help get through the pandemic.

1. Stay focused on your job.

“There’s so much anxiety that comes with pandemics, lockdowns, potential layoffs, and our core mission delivery services being stopped. However, that is mostly beyond our control right now,” says director of annual giving at the Vancouver Symphony, Kyle Tiney, CFRE. “I’ve been able to keep going emotionally by continuing to focus on the job I was hired for and to continue to connect donors to our mission.”

2. Separate work and non-workspaces at home. 

“As many of us have learned while working from home for the first time, it is easy to get distracted by our home environment,” says Tiney. “Keeping a physical workspace that doesn’t get used during ‘off work hours’ gives me the mental space to disconnect from work.”  Director of Annual Giving of the Ottawa Mission Megan Feltham, CFRE, says when the pandemic began, she was working in her dining room. However, seeing her workstation all day and evening was having an impact on how she felt, how she slept and on her overall motivation. “I moved my workstation to a location in my basement near the window,” she said, and things improved.

3. Maintain a normal schedule as much as possible. 

“I am a working mother with two young kids,” says Feltham. “When they are in virtual school—I live in Quebec, so they are back to in-person school now—we set up a family daytime calendar to ensure that everyone is able to attend virtual school and workplace virtual meetings, without any issues. We also have family ground rules to help minimize interruptions when I’m in a team meeting or one of the children is in virtual class.”

4. Stay connected with your team and your profession.

“We have multiple team meetings throughout the week to ensure that the team feels connected and comfortable in our new normal,” says Feltham. “I work with a fantastic team who is innovative, driven and positive.” Tiney says the pandemic has provided opportunities to do professional development but that it’s important to be selective in what you choose. “The number of available webinars has drastically increased, and we can literally spend 10 hours a day watching them. It’s important that we keep taking in new trends and insights to support our fundraising, but it’s important to not get overwhelmed with how many you participate. I keep my professional development activities to those that will directly enhance and support my fundraising efforts this year.”

5. Maintain a routine as much as you can.

“I walk my dog every morning before work which helps keep me active,” says Feltham. “I think it’s important to start the day off in the right mindset, and that has really helped keep my mind healthy. I always dress in “workplace” clothing, no jogging pants Monday through Friday.”

6. Find a way to stay connected to your loved ones. 

“Although I’ve only seen my closest friends twice in-person since the beginning of March,” says Tiney, “we have remained connected through Zoom every Thursday night, and it’s constantly the highlight of my week. I love always having at least one regular weekly event to always look forward to.”

If you are feeling isolated and finding it difficult to cope, you are not alone. Please check out AFP’s resources on how to cope with the stress of the pandemic and reach out to a trusted colleague, supervisor or medical professional for help.

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