2020 will go down in the history books...the world’s history books, and our own business and personal history books.
We navigated a pandemic, an early lockdown, a reopening, a summer season where we made the most of being outdoors, the anxiety of kids going back to school, a partial lockdown, and now a uniquely isolated holiday season...all while readjusting every few weeks to the evolving requirements of staying safe and keeping others safe.
It’s been tough on your family, on your leaders and your staff. And, let’s face it, it’s been tough on us as owners and CEOs as well.
Prolonged, intense, invisible stress
All that stress flowing through our bodies for extended periods of time - hours, days, sometimes weeks on end - is hard on the body.
We may not realize it. We may be numb to it.
That’s by design. When we’re in a state of intense stress, our body fills us with the chemicals needed to keep going and fight the battle - adrenaline and cortisol.
This can also numb our emotions and our body sensations. So we don’t even know what toll it’s taking until we slow down.
For some of us, myself included, slowing down is hard. So we maybe haven’t yet actually felt how we’re doing.
Here’s the rub. We can’t keep it up over the long haul.
Our bodies only have a limited amount of adrenaline to draw from. As we use it up, it contributes to aging. We lose energy and our ability to respond in challenging situations.
There’s a name for this: Adrenal Fatigue...also called exhaustion.
And here’s the thing. The battle isn’t over.
2021 won’t be magically better
Obviously, we all want to continue to move our businesses forward, improve, grow, and build something great.
But this pandemic also isn’t over. Yes, a vaccine is starting to be distributed in Canada. Yet, the process and the uncertainties that go along with it means there’s still a long road ahead until we’re out of the woods.
McKinsey & Company’s latest report of their ongoing meta-study forecasts that “the United States will most likely reach an epidemiological end to the pandemic (herd immunity) in Q3 or Q4 2021”. There’s no real reason Canada should expect it any sooner.
There will be more challenges, more evolving restrictions to adjust to, and the continuing need to manage the risk of COVID-19 in our workplaces and homes.
This means demand uncertainty, supply-chain variability and internal operational risks will continue for some time.
So, while we may be happily turning the page on a tough year, the brutal facts are that 2021 is likely to be pretty challenging as well.
We have to recharge!
This holiday season is that time to slow down, feel how we’re actually doing, and give those adrenal glands a break to restore their proper function.
We may be disappointed that we won’t get to see extended family or friends over the Christmas break. But there’s a silver lining. That gives us the space to get some time to ourselves.
The best cure for fatigue...sleep! And lots of it. Naps. Quiet time. Long baths or dips in the hot tub. Leisurely walks. Or just sitting still.
This is hard for us A types. But it’s essential. Our bodies, minds, resilience, effectiveness and strategic thinking depend on it… not to mention our families, businesses and communities.
This means putting everything off that isn’t absolutely necessary, including odd jobs around the house, personal research or getting our finances in order.
And what’s really necessary over the holidays?
Certainly, we’ll have family time, give gifts and connect with loved ones via video calls. But the work at the office will still be there when we get back after New Year’s Day. It’s not going anywhere. We won’t misplace it or forget what there is to do.
Let’s take this time between Christmas and New Year’s to put ourselves first, so we can be at our best for 2021.
Happy holidays to all my clients, colleagues, friends and acquaintances.
And above all, Merry Recharging!
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