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.

Guess the World didn’t Implode 🤯

Needless to say last week was nuts! Even if you’re not “political” you couldn’t turn the television on without coverage of the election going on.

Some of us may still be feeling like…

Waiting for the other shoe to drop- be like!

In fact, Election Day, I opted out of the conversation for my mental health, which is also why there’s no podcast this week but time will resume as it usually does.

But while we waited for the results, something happened in my house- that’s never happened before!

My husband was paying attention, to the state of the world! 

I was shocked-I know!

Which, for me, meant explaining American politics to a Chinese born and raised self-proclaimed apathetic about all kinds of politics cis-man the importance of this election.


Now whichever side of the coin you find yourself, that’s your choice. We can still be friends and talk to each other. I find it fascinating to speak to people with a difference of opinion- you should too.

But what this election season became for us, was that it allowed us to dive deep into the issues. Understand what we each held of value and howthat was being talked about in public forums.

I wasn’t trying to convince him of anything, but I had to explain both sides and the logic behind it- which was easier said than done.

And then he would translate and explain to his mother and translate her questions back. This is how I imagine things used to be, (maybe not all the English/Chinese translation), but conversations between people that even if they disagreed on ideologies could still hold conversations in a way that was respectful and productive. Even if we still walked away believing in what we came in with.


These are the 3 things I understood on Saturday after hearing of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s victory.

1. It’s the beginning of a sense of normalcy. They may not be the best candidates- what politicians are? But they have put a stop to the show- which after so long, I’m kind of glad news will be a little more expansive, rather than the unilateral, “What’s Trump tweeting about today?”. Now their real work can begin. It reminds me of this quote from Dr MLK’s Nobel prize acceptance speech from 1964.…”

“Another indication that progress is being made was found in the recent presidential election in the United States. The American people revealed great maturity by overwhelmingly rejecting a presidential candidate who had become identified with extremism, racism, and retrogression8. The voters of our nation rendered a telling blow to the radical right9. They defeated those elements in our society which seek to pit white against Negro and lead the nation down a dangerous Fascist path. Let me not leave you with a false impression. The problem is far from solved. We still have a long, long way to go before the dream of freedom is a reality…

Dr MLK, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech 1964

This was from 1964! How little progress we’ve made. 


2. Kamala Harris’s speech made the little girl in me cry and the grown woman in me sob. Men have been in the white house since the beginning of time, but to have a woman in the second highest position?

It’s almost a moment of we are so close we can feel it! “…all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote” she continued: “And I stand on their shoulders.”

Chills, just chills! 

3. The only way to move forward is to find that common ground again. There doesn’t need to be a repeat of Trumps’ time in office, with everyone just voting along party lines. It’s possible to have a form of government that works for all, not just the few. And it’s possible to still get work done while having a difference of opinion.

In order to do that we need to understand, that creating change is going to take more than just pretty words but real dirty work. Working across party lines and creating policy that is for the benefit of all. Maybe this might be an introductory lesson from Nisha Anand on the Radical Act of Choosing Common Ground.

Because it is a choice to work together just as much as not doing so is a choice too. 

This week’s Rose, Bud and Thorn:

Rose: I have decided that this is the week, I submit my grad application- so fingers crossed! 

Bud: There’s some new surprises coming for the holidays, I’m really excited about (more details coming soon). 

Thorn: We can finally move the news cycle to cover other things, unfortunately it might still just be Covid for a while 🥺.

Yours in kind,

Jessy Santana, Founder The Way We Work

I’m moderating another Beyond BLM series for SOGAL Foundation. Hope you’ll join us!