When Was The Last Time You Genuinely Checked in with a Colleague?

That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.

Stan Lee

This holiday season will be difficult for everyone. There’s no doubt. Whether you’re staying home for safety’s sake or being forced to by the government of where you live. The holidays have never looked like this.

Even the years I spent in China, a country that saves its cheer for Chinese New Year, I could usually find a group of friends and a home or a karaoke to celebrate Christmas in. This year, however, the cheer has fizzled out of the grandeur that normally is the festivities this year.

I, for one can’t go home for Christmas, the border is still closed between the US and Canada. So my mother’s infamous Christmas party decorations and merriment will have to wait until next year. Replaced by my sad little tree and twinkle lights. Honestly, there’s no comparison but there’s also no presents because my husband doesn’t understand the concept of waiting to unwrap gifts and has opened every package that’s arrived- there goes the surprise!

We’ve been lucky and grateful in this year for many reasons, we’ve struggled but we’ve managed, others may be not.

Last summer when I started hosting the Beyond BLM: Actionable Steps for Change series, one of the panelists mentioned that no one had checked in with her just to see if she was ok, and it would have been incredible if someone had. When she felt she could handle going public, she did and the comments and calls of support followed, but the toll on her emotional and mental health had already occurred.

The holiday season is always one that is filled with a tinge of darkness just beneath the surface. We all get distracted by the holiday movies, the dinners and parties but loneliness is especially high during the holidays. I imagine this year, numbers will peak. Especially for those that may be quarantining alone.

Mental health has already become precarious in 2020. According to the Mental Health America, The number of people looking for help with anxiety and depression has skyrocketed. Even in Canada, pre-Covid, 1 in 5 Canadians needed help with mental illness, according to the Canada Mental Health Association.

Don’t let the year finish without reaching out, if you do need help or even if you don’t. The worst feeling of regret is always wishing you had reached out to those you thought might be struggling.

Last week, I reached out to an old friend and she admitted that while she was at work all day, she found her off time had little activity and she was glad for the conversation. What was supposed to be a 30 minute discovery call ended up being an hour and a half, let’s talk about everything call.

I remember that feeling from the start of the pandemic when we saw no one, didn’t leave except for the weekly grocery run. My husband and I had to learn to speak deeply to each other again, not having done that in a while. Another reason to be grateful this year.

But reach out and genuinely speak with one person this year, it might benefit you more than you realize.

And if you need more than just a helping hand reach out to those services that offer more. There is no shame in realizing you need help, we all do in different ways.