As we finally say goodbye to 2020, I wanted to have a final check-in to see how you are and share with you my top three tips for dealing with this time of year. Over recent weeks I’ve spoken with many colleagues from across the not-for-profit sector and they are all, without exception, feeling tired and more than ready for a break. Our sector tends to attract conscientious, hardworking people who want to make a difference and I know this is the case for you. But, this often comes at a personal cost.
So, my first tip for making the most of the next couple of weeks (and beyond) is to ….
1. Let go of perfectionist tendencies: If you miss the postal deadline for getting a present to someone in time for Christmas, if you didn’t manage to get your in-laws favourite wine, or you have eaten too much of the unhealthier foods…never mind. If there is a year to drop your standards a bit, this is it! For those of us with perfectionist tendencies, the festive season can bring out the desire for everything to be perfect, and of course this is an ideal that can never be reached. Striving for perfection can lead to resentment, disappointment, or dissatisfaction. So, in the words of my niece’s favourite song… let it go! Give yourself a break. You have done more than enough.
Which bring me onto the next thing…
2. Try to stay in the moment: In the rush and busyness of this time of year, it’s easy to slip into a habit of regretting what we haven’t been able to get done or constantly thinking ahead to what needs doing next. If there’s one upside of a more streamlined festivities, with fewer social engagements, travel and visitors, it’s that we have a greater opportunity to embrace the simpler pleasures (the smell of the Christmas tree, for example – my favourite!) and be in the here and now. When I was fundraising for a hospice and meeting people nearing the end of their life, I noticed it was usually the small things they remembered and wanted to share – how Weetabix was their daughter’s favourite breakfast, or how their Dad always seems to win at Monopoly, or the time they bought a Christmas tree that was too tall for their lounge… Take notice, gather up and savour those moments.
3. You have been absolutely amazing this year. You’ve worked your socks off, sacrificed so much for your organisation and done the best you can in the most difficult of circumstances. You’ve supported your family and loved ones and your colleagues, and you’ve done your bit for society by keeping away from each other. Most people I coach or speak to about their training needs all have something in common – they skim over or forget how much they achieve each day and the contributions they make. There is also a tendency to focus on the big stuff whereas often it’s the numerous smaller actions that make the biggest difference. So, take a breath and take a moment to raise a glass to yourself and celebrate how truly incredible you are.
Thank you for all you do and have a wonderful festive break. I look forward to seeing you or having a virtual cup of coffee in 2021. Take care,
PS: If you want to pop a time in to catch up, feel free to take a look here and find a time that works for you.