As we near the end of this most extraordinary year, the festive season is almost upon us. The break from work will be a welcome one for most, but there is no doubt that this will be a very different holiday period than the ones we have known in the past.
Christmas can be a difficult time of year even in so-called ‘normal’ times. Christmas 2020 brings a whole other layer of complexity and new challenges to navigate. Much of my work this year has unsurprisingly been focused around wellbeing. Supporting employees, training managers so that they can do the same, raising awareness about mental health.
Wellbeing remains on my mind. If you are thinking about it too, I’d like to offer you four simple quotes upon which I have been reflecting in the last few weeks.
It’s okay not to be okay. This is a well-known saying about mental health, designed to take the stigma out of poor mental health, sending the message that there is no shame in this illness. But this year, right now, it has never felt more true. There is almost no one untouched by Covid-19. If you are struggling right now it is not only okay to feel this way, but a totally normal reaction to living through a long period of extreme stress and uncertainty. Maybe you don’t feel that you have had it as bad as others, and shouldn’t feel so tired or so stressed. Please, do give yourself permission to feel just exactly how you feel.
Self-care isn’t selfish
If you’ve attended a wellbeing event on self-care on resilience I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase too. It is perhaps nearly reaching cliché status. It is however, oh so important. Because when we are busy dealing with all that Covid-19 has delivered to us, as we attempt to balance and keep all of the plates spinning, the thing that might just slip along the way, be put to the bottom of the priority list, is us. Our own wellbeing. The stuff that nourishes us and helps us to recover and recharge. Without this, burnout awaits. Taking a little time for you, is not a nice to have, it is a necessity.
This too, shall pass.
And it will. Although the end may not be as close as we would like, it is in sight. The days will come again where we will socialise, and hug, and meet without thought (or mask). There is hope, there are better days to come. We will get through this.
A less well known quote, but one that I return to often. From the then Managing Director of the New Economics Foundation (it is their research that forms the basis of the popular 5 Ways to Wellbeing framework).
Wellbeing is not a beach that you go and lie on. It is a dynamic dance, and there is movement in that all the time.
Our own wellbeing is not something that we can ever stop focusing on and working towards. We are never ‘done’. It’s not a qualification or a date in the diary. It is something that we need to focus on and work towards and strive for. Every single day – and especially now.