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Lockdown is not easy - and makes me appreciate what we have

11th May 2020 / By Andrea Vickers

The NPA's office manager Andrea Vickers explains how working from home can present added mental strains. 

Andrea TranterAs lockdown continues, the NPA office remains my dining room table, which is now shared with two teenagers studying towards A-level and GCSEs, so a little on the cramped side and not ideal.

But that hasn’t deterred the spirit of getting the job done, as once said by Boris Johnson! As many industries have ground to a halt, prime production still carries on as you all feed the nation their bacon and sausages along with every other pork product I can think of! 

Along with the production of pigs are a host of different problems faced by many of you, which as team we continue to work on, so the ‘back room’ admin must also continue. We still need to receive subs (for those that haven’t yet paid (wink emoji)), ferry bookings are continuing as breeding companies go about their daily work, and the phone doesn’t stop ringing (unfortunately). 

Whilst on the whole, I enjoy working from home, I am missing the office and the closure it gives at the end of each day. That is a little hard to do when your dining room is also part of your lounge!

Whilst video conferencing has become the new norm, I miss actually seeing the team in the office. We’ve managed to get round a host of admin problems with a little creative thinking – like many of you, we are making the best of a bad situation.

Working from home provides other challenges though, especially, when it comes to mental health. As a person who suffers with anxiety, being home all day on my own when my children are with their dad is long, lonely and hard.

Whilst work provides a distraction, it doesn’t distract from the thoughts that creep in when you’ve been inside the same four walls for over three weeks with no feeling of separation between home and work and only essential travel to get essential shopping and the daily dog walk your only means of escape! 

I find I look forward to these small amounts of time away from my home as massively important and things that I took for granted prior to lockdown.

I miss being in my family’s company, as do many of you do I’m sure, but I do look forward to our weekly family pub quiz – we are all very competitive and this will continue after lockdown!

The things I will take away from this lockdown is not to take for granted the time spent in the office with my team and the freedom living in this brilliant country brings.

I have made time to call my elderly neighbours and relatives and friends who are also in isolation to make sure they are OK, knowing that they haven’t seen visitors like me and will be feeling especially vulnerable.

Maybe you could pick up the phone and just check in on that person who has been on your mind? Your phone call could be the one call that makes a difference…

If you too are suffering with any form of mental ill health, please do seek help. There is plenty of support available. 

SUPPORT NETWORKS

The Farming Community Network (FCN)

Website:                     www.fcn.org.uk

Phone:                         03000 111 999

You Are Not Alone (YANA)

Website:                     www.yanahelp.org

Includes national directory of rural support groups

Phone:                         0300 323 0400

Lincolnshire Rural Support Network (LRSN)

Website:                     www.lrsn.co.uk 

Phone:                         0800 138 1710

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI)

Website:                     www.rabi.org.uk 

Phone:                         0808 281 9490

Samaritans

Website:                     www.samaritans.org 

Phone:                         116 123

Mind

Website:                     www.mind.org.uk

Phone:                         0300 123 3393

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