The year is drawing to a close. Everybody I speak to sounds exhausted and some have mild symptoms of burn-out. Conversations revolve around how mentally and physically tired we are and how people seem short tempered and impatient. Team members are edgy, snappy and wired; pushing fast and furious to complete tasks and projects before the shut-down period.
I recently had lunch and a good chat with a dear client, and I realised that it was not the first time I’d had this conversation, and I am certain neither have you. It seems that from the end of October ever year the same conversations and symptoms rear their heads. Employees are downright tired and wired. At this stage I need to thank a dear person for the inspiration for this catchy blog title and idea.
What is it about the end of the year that we repeatedly rush to get everything done? What makes us all so tired and wired? Surely we aren’t expecting the world to come to an end? We have previously gone on leave and had to complete all our tasks or projects at a certain cut-off date. If we weren’t able to get everything done, we briefed colleagues who stood in for us. We don’t appear to have the same hype at Easter when many people break for a week or two. So, why is it that it always happens in December?
Are we really mentally and physically tired? What if we never knew that December is December but in actual fact it is September or perhaps even May? What I am saying is: what if this is all about our mind-set as well as the power of negativity talking? We are continuously hearing how exhausted everyone is and how they are racing frantically to get everything done before this exodus and shut-down happens. We might hear it so often that we begin to believe it ourselves. And our beliefs feed our mind and culminate into actions. It is with purpose and intent that I raise these controversial questions because I want us to stop in our tracks and think about it – being mindful and not mindlessly following the festive season hype.
How do we turn the tired and wired scenario into a time of gratitude and reflection? Here are some ideas to turn the year-end mania into mindful thanks.
1. Use the time to thank people for what they meant to you during the year. How have they made your year lighter? Write them a handwritten note of thanks.
2. Use the time of year as an ‘excuse’ to connect and socialise with people you have neglected during the year. Maintaining and nurturing relationships especially in the era of social media has taken on a much deeper meaning.
3. Give your time to a good cause. Many people are not as fortunate and money is a wonderful aid. Volunteer work is a memorable experience that puts smiles on people’s faces, including your own.
Reflect over the year and go back to January and give some thought as to what made it so memorable. Challenge yourself to find a positive and a negative experience. Repeat this for every month. This exercise might take time to complete and you’ll need your diary to spark your memory about events in each month.
Once you’ve done all 12 months, reflect holistically over the year. Determine what you liked about it and what you want to keep and repeat – carry these things forward into the next year. Then look at what you didn’t enjoy in the year. Establish if you have control over changing this and then ponder on how you’re going to do it and what you need to change. Voila! There your goals for the next year.
The end of the year is a time to slow down, quieten our minds, reflect, be thankful and give abundantly to others. Even if the energy is all hyped-up, you don’t have to actively participate. Make this your reflective mindful time not your absent minded wired time.