To say 2020 has been outside the bounds of normal would be an understatement. That’s not news. You’ve juggled your children’s virtual school day with your work-related deadlines and a telehealth check-up. You’ve adapted annual family holiday traditions to work over Zoom. You’ve binge-watched more programming on streaming services than you care to admit. And that’s just the easy stuff. The worry, the stress, the financial burden, you’re quite familiar with the weight of the pandemic across your shoulders.
We’re also entering that time of year naturally that brings a mixture of joy and overwhelm: the holidays. If these days of gift shopping and celebrating and decorating and baking leave you teetering between pleasure and stress, you’re in good company. Like most things, holiday season 2020 will be its own unique experience as we try to fit our traditions and our celebrations into socially-distanced adaptations.
Exhausted yet? Who could blame you? As the year winds through its final days, consider gifting yourself a few (or all!) of the things on this gift list.
Take a Class
One good thing that has come out of our pandemic-led move to online platforms is that it's easier than ever to access quality classes and seminars. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and sign in online to a class or workshop. This is your chance to explore new skills or hone the ones you’ve already got. Whether you’re looking to better your business, your resume, or just stretch your mind, there’s no shortage of courses you could delve into right from anywhere you and your laptop sit.
Explore New Business Channels
As a business leader, it can be easy to get caught up in putting out daily fires and helping your team stay on track. Long-term tasks, while important, can also easily be pushed aside by short-term needs. This holiday, give yourself (and your business) the gift of your attention on long-term goals and relationship building. Give yourself the gift of time to research, cultivate, and build your business. Devote time to LinkedIn and virtual meet-ups with business communities to build your professional network. Spend time focusing on customer and partner relationships. Make due diligence and planning for tomorrow a priority.
Learn a New Hobby
Earlier this year, when lockdowns started and people were looking for something to fill their hours at home, flour and yeast were in short supply. People that had only dabbled (if at all!) in baking, were churning out all sorts of glutinous goodies. You don’t need to pull on an apron, but you should take a page from those budding bakers and gift yourself a new hobby.
Learn a new language, write that book you’ve always talked about writing, try your hand at watercolors, or learn a musical instrument. Take your camera with you on walks (or use your smartphone!) and stretch your creative muscles through photographs. Your hobbies may also yield a bonus win for your professional life: the skills you develop can translate to career skills. Sure, as a business leader, you may not need to break out the paints and create a new portrait for the boardroom, but honing your watercolor painting talent will help stretch your imagination in ways that boost your problem-solving skills. A photography hobby can translate to honing your ability to see the full picture – both close up and from a distance. If nothing else, a new hobby will also mean a new, energized, happy you, and that’s always good for business!
The Gift of Nothing
You are a go-getter. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be the business leader that you are. You’re also so much more than your career, and so you’re a champion work-life juggler, which means sometimes you feel like you’re being buried by the demands on your time. This holiday season, set aside time to do absolutely nothing. Yes. You read that right. Nothing. Put it in your calendar. Mark it simply as “Me” and make note that this is non-negotiable. There is no canceling or rescheduling. This is your time to simply do nothing except what relaxes and recharges you. All those other demands on your time will not get the full attention they deserve if you’re running on empty. Making time for yourself isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. It’s what keeps you in peak performance so your family, your work, and whatever else demands your attention can get you at your best.