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Fighting Fundraising Fatigue

Want to eliminate 5 o’clock fog?

Whether it’s so you can hit a networking hour with vigor or for the drive home, getting to the end of the day should not feel like getting to the end of your rope! You deserve the kind of treatment you would give your best donor.

The good news is there are small changes you can make to reduce fatigue and improve overall health. If you need to allay any guilt about spending time on you, here’s justification:

  • Better you = increased production = more money for mission!

8 daily habits to get you there…

  1. Pause. You are not a drive-through information window. Our society has created a need for immediate gratification and that slides into our work environments. Unless you are making decisions in the surgical suite or there is imminent danger, most answers can be given later.  Before you answer unexpected questions, take a breath, pause, and think for a moment. Give yourself permission to get back to people. This self care habit will lower your heart rate, stress and cortisol levels. People will learn to appreciate your thoughtful ways.
  2. Sit less. Recent studies state that to improve our health, we must sit less. A large review published by The Journal of the National Cancer Institute confirms sitting can be fatal. At work we sit 7-12 hours per day, and for relaxation we often choose TV, movies or more sitting with friends. But don’t be alarmed, or actually do! Be alarmed enough to stand for parts of your day, have walking meetings with co-workers, take the stairs. Get your large muscle groups moving for a few minutes every hour. Small changes in your daily routine will lead to a smaller waistline, reduced cancer risks and lower stress levels.
  3. Plan your food. Who needs someone telling you how to eat in 2018 – isn’t that what the multi-billion dollar food industry is for?! It is true that planning food that feeds your brain, steadies your blood sugar and gives you sustained energy will improve your mental and physical health. Set aside 30 minutes twice a week for food prep: clean veggies, prepack homemade lunches, cut up cheese and so on.  This makes for easier mornings with grab-and-go options.  Make yourself a priority at the grocery store and in the kitchen.  You deserve it!
  4. Stay connected to your cause. It isn’t always easy to remember that all that fundraising work is noble. What you do changes lives and improves communities; it’s why you are a fundraiser! Listen to the hope created by the work you do. Get soul food by visiting your programs and talking to the people who benefit from the funds you raise. It will help you work through that next sponsorship proposal.
  5. Set aside time for the tasks. Ensure you have booked the time to do the work. It is easy to get pulled into the flow of the office if you haven’t set up your own schedule. It is also easier to sleep at night (for me, anyway) if I know I have blocked time for that grant writing I had been putting off. You will feel confident that you will have fewer 14-hour office days.
  6. Stretch. You will live longer and feel better! Stretching provides a triple benefit to bring your breathing, your focus and your body into alignment. If you experience writer’s block or if leg cramps keep you up at night, a little stretching goes a long way to relax your mind and body. I like Yoga at Work and Yogasphere apps.
  7. Just think. The greatest thinkers had to take time to think, and so must you. Unplug and be alone. Allow yourself thinking time (or meditate or journal, if you need the structure).  Put it in your schedule. Start with 15 minutes at the beginning of the day or at the end of your lunch break. Breathe and relax. Don’t worry if you start thinking about your kid’s hockey game, you might be midgame when you have your work breakthrough. The point is to allow your mind to leave the chatter of the day. It is a practice, so be patient and enjoy the journey. (Set an alarm if you find yourself napping. Which leads us to….)
  8. Sleep. As an experienced insomniac, I encourage you to get some sleep. Health Canada recommends that we get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, but they say one in three Canadians is not achieving that goal. There are countless recommendations on how to do it. I believe in the basics: exercise, eating well, reducing caffeine, meditation and talking out what keeps you thinking at night. One thing I have learned through my insomnia is patience with myself. It does not matter how much you want to sleep, sometimes it is difficult, and we must accept it as part of the journey.

The results of a few little changes will add up to a healthier and more productive you. And you deserve to be your best self. Happy healthy fundraising!