Sunday 26 June 2016

Lifestyle: I Took On The #VoiceOff Challenge

A few weeks ago I put up a post all about taking on the Exeter Deaf Academy 24 hour #VoiceOff Challenge. Well the challenge took place on June 15th, and I did it! WOO! So I thought I would share a little round up of how I got on, the hardest parts of the challenge and how much money I raised for such a wonderful charity! (catch up here)

I started my morning off as usual with a hearty breakfast and a cup of tea, but I really missed saying good morning to my boyfriend and wishing him a lovely day. I then got myself ready, put on my badge, grabbed my white board and headed off to work. I work in a hotel and the guests were so kind about my challenge, although some thought I had a sore throat that's why I wasn't speaking! haha.
I explained my challenge by displaying a sign next to my desk, wearing my badge (this had 'I'm doing the Voice Off Challenge in aid of Exeter Deaf Academy. I have switched my voice off for 24 hours, please be patient with me.' written on it) and using my whiteboard. I found having a whiteboard made this challenge so much easier, it was a simple way to quickly write a message or note to a guest. I wrote 'Good morning, how can I help you?' on one side and 'Thank you' on the reverse side. The hardest part about not speaking at work was not being able to answer the phone - every time I was left alone for a few minutes the phone would ring, and I would have to run across the building to find someone to answer it! (getting my cardio in for the day!) The only small thing that made me feel a little awkward was that some guests would look right past me to my Manager, instead of attempting to communicate with me.

My work day seemed to fly by surprisingly, and I even received a few sponsors from some of my guests. I did feel a little left out and isolated from the rest of my colleagues, as they were all laughing and joking and I felt I couldn't always join in, as it was difficult having to write everything down. It can be very time consuming. I feel that deaf people must have the patience of a saint, as it can be quite frustrating trying to 'act out' or sign what you are trying to explain. I did manage to sign for sorry, thank you, hello, goodbye and deaf, while doing my challenge - all of which were provided to me on a leaflet included in my fundraising pack. This was a huge help!
The rest of my day went well, I popped to the shops and acted out what I wanted and spent the evening at home with my boyfriend watching TV. Although it did feel as though we didn't chat as much, as we usually comment on the show we are watching or ask how each others days have been. My boyfriend was so supportive of my challenge though, he texted me throughout the day and left me little notes around our flat, which was so lovely.

I found the challenge tough, but inspiring. We rely so much on expressing ourselves through speech that we sometimes forget to listen. I found that I listened so much more to what people were saying, and read their expressions. It was an eye opener, I will be trying to make more of an effort to stop and listen fully more often.

I managed to raise a wonderful £153.96 (£157.96 with gift aid) for the Deaf Academy, and I am so proud of myself for being able to take on such a difficult challenge. It was a great experience, I learnt so much about sign language, the struggles deaf people have to face every day, and I also raised money for a great charity! I want to say a huge thank you to Nicola at the Deaf Academy for being so kind, my dad for supporting me through my work day, all of my friends, family, colleagues and blogger babes for sponsoring me, and my lovely boyfriend for making me smile all day long!
I hope you enjoyed this #VoiceOff challenge post. Would you be able to switch your voice off for 24 hours?

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

*I am not being compensated or paid for taking part in the #VoiceOff Challenge, I am simply taking part to raise money for a good cause!

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