Just when we thought it was a downhill slide for the rest of 2021 after literally climbing mountains all year, the final rock climbing COVID insult presented itself on the cusp of the festive season.
As a nation, we are a tenacious bunch. South Africans know how to roll with the punches, stand in queues, make jokes on Twitter and generally see the lighter side to most situations. We like to tell stories, laugh and spend time with friends and family. We find social comfort around sharing meals and gathering for events from sport, to stage shows and school concerts. South Africans know how to make a plan and we understand the essence of “gees”.
We’ve become good at adapting and changing to embrace circumstance. From school routines, home offices, the new normal to hybrid work. Virtual book clubs, pineapple beer and more banana bread than anyone could eat, we’ve certainly delivered on the “gees”.
Despite our ability to find the silver lining, the end of 2021 has found me tired. I recon we’ve done a great job at embracing the continual flood of change over the last twenty months, but if change is as good as a holiday, I’ve been enjoying a round the world cruise! There is strength in saying, “I can’t do this” or “I’m feeling overwhelmed, could I call you later”. And yes Karen, I know I’m on mute but understand I’m not voiceless, I’m just tired.
I recently read a Linked In post of an Exec from a large music label in the UK who resigned his influential job sighting near burnout as the single main reason. He was tired of 4am wake-ups to catch up on e-mail. Tired of Sunday afternoon work sessions to try and start the week all caught up and up to date. Tired of disappointing his kids by not being there for sport games or incidental homework sessions. Tired of leaving his family before breakfast and finding his dinner next to the microwave. Our ability to identify mental fatigue is as equally important as knowing what a twisted ankle feels like. Would you run a marathon with a twisted ankle? So why chance mental fatigue with a similar long-distance task?
As we start to set meetings for 2022 and sign off e-mails with festive greetings, take a moment and consider your own mindfulness. How are you doing and what do you need to recharge to bring the “gees” to 2022? We’ve all taken some kind of a beating in the last year whether it be financial, physical, emotionally or mentally, and I think it is OK to say “enough”.
When you pack up your office (read dining room table) on the last day of work, relish the idea of the social comforts that await in the next few weeks, sleep that extra thirty minutes, take the walks you’ve been threatening since the end of Winter and give yourself the break you deserve. Let’s be cognisant that people around us are tired too and might need a little extra cheer at the end of a hard year, of all the things to be, be kind.
A change isn’t as good as a holiday. A Holiday is as good as a holiday, enjoy yours it is well deserved.