As soon as I woke up this morning and heard the rain battering on the roof, I was walking a mental tightrope about whether to work at home or come into the office. Wouldn’t it be easier to just slip in front of the laptop, avoid the rain and quietly get on?
One clingy nursery drop-off later and I decided the exercise and change of scenery would do me good and I was on my bike, head down through torrents of rain and driving wind wondering what on earth I was doing it for. Post-Christmas slumping was setting in and I realised I was nearly in a full-blown bout of the January blues.
Then I remembered. I was doing it because I have a job I love, and if I can do it well, I can help people right on my doorstep who are struggling with life much more severely and frequently than me. How would the rain and January feel if I’d had no-one to share Christmas with? Or if I was living in appalling sub-standard housing, or if I couldn’t afford to put the heating on? Perspective always helps me – but it wasn’t quite enough to cheer me up as the rain started to soak through my trousers in the windy wilds of North Oxford.
The instinct to retreat and hibernate was strong, but then I thought of what might not happen if I didn’t bother. Of what more could happen if we can tell great stories to our donors about what we have achieved with their support. Of the feeling of satisfaction that comes from doing something practical to make a difference to a nebulous and depressing issue such as the cost-of-living crisis. I reminded myself that action begets action, and that before the break, I was celebrating raising £100k in additional funding towards our Cost of Living Fund.
Lastly, the thing that really got me over the line and into this office today was the idea of laughing about my wet trousers with my colleagues. Of seeing people and hearing about what is going on in OCF face to face. Connection with like-minded people – whether it’s my lovely colleagues who made me tea as soon as I walked in, or the thoughtful, compassionate donors I have the privilege of meeting, or the dynamic, relentless people that drive change in our local charitable sector – connection is what will do it.
PERSPECTIVE. ACTION. CONNECTION.
With delight I swooped into Woodin’s Way realising that the work we have planned for the next few weeks and months is all about this. We’re giving ourselves a refreshed perspective by creating a new edition of Oxfordshire Uncovered. We’re taking action, building the business plan for the coming year and continuing to direct much-needed funds to local charities, including acting on climate change. And we’re boosting the people connections that will equip us to achieve our mission, recruiting some motivated new team members and building relationships with our donors and supporters. PERSPECTIVE. ACTION. CONNECTION. It’s my new mantra.
And now I’m off to M&S to get some dry socks and trousers.
NB the concept of January blues and in particular so-called ‘Blue Monday’ isn’t scientifically backed – mental health issues can hit people at any time, and there are resources locally to support you, such as Oxfordshire Mind: https://www.oxfordshiremind.org.uk/blue-monday/.