7 ways a holiday hater can show empathy in the festive season

by Dec 23, 2020

Bah Humbug!”  This year the holiday hater has to show empathy

bah humbug

OK. We get it. You hate the holidays. But many think of the festive season as wonderful professional down time not dead time. A quiet interlude to catch up, go to some parties and take a few days vacation or even a staycation. They want to relax and spend time with their families and friends, kick back and enjoy the festivities.

But this year things are a bit different for them.

If you are a holiday hater, for you this period is normally a nightmare. The thought fills you with dread. You are very much in the Macawber camp of “Bah! Humbug”  You might have a different cultural background. Office parties are the worst  The commercialism disappoints you. For you it is a period of endurance which seems never-ending. Every Christmas cookie, mince-pie, or bite of stollen is a small piece of agony. There is even a spot for the holiday hater in the Urban Dictionary.

COVID changed everything

But COVID changed everything. Last year everyone had to scale back and we were all caught up in social distancing protocols so complex not even world-leading code-breakers like Alan Turing could decipher them. Tiers and cuddle bubbles became part of our daily vocabulary, along with masks and hand sanitizer. Travel was difficult and health restrictions apply to large crowds. Cookies and champagne were shared with a very small group of family or friends in a tier or a bubble. The office party was on Zoom or outside.

This year we are still not sure at the time of writing which way it’s going to go in many geographies. Tighter restrictions or more flexibility?

For those who love the holidays they are filled with sadness and regret. Many can’t see close family because of travel restrictions or health regulations. Some have made plans which they may have to change adding on more layers of disappointment and frustration. Uncertainty makes it even more difficult.

Read: Fire your Head of Woe to beat Negative Thinking

So what can the holiday hater do?

#1 Change your mindset

The festive season might not be your thing, but you can help people who could use support. This year you have to change your mindset. A colleague looking for cover, an additional pair of hands to meet a deadline, especially if they have been doing home schooling or have caring responsibilities, or a client who needs a favour.

Be generous. You will feel great!  Pay it forward and walk in their shoes. See the point about empathy.

#2 Attend the online festivities

Yep! Go right out and do it! Probably a huge number of parties will shift online again. Identify those that will be strategically useful. You don’t have to accept all invitations. Log in graciously, take advantage of them, work the Zoom room and network. Show some empathy, and that you understand many people are struggling. Some may have lost family members. Then leave early. You are at home so you don’t have to over indulge. While everyone is having one too many in their homes and crying into their eggnog, you can make useful professional contacts.

Read: Must know Mindful Eating Tips

#3 Connect

While the seasonal spirit passes you by, you can still use it as an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues past and present and wish them well for the upcoming year, whatever it might hold.

Everyone likes the New Year right?

#4 Show appreciation

Now is the time to look back on the year and show appreciation to friends and colleagues. It has been a pretty poor year for most people. A LinkedIn endorsement or recommendation, or even a note of thanks will show recognition. This is a year when morale is at an all time low. Make a contribution to improving that will make everyone feel good.

Read: Living a life of gratitude will result in success

#5 Send good wishes

It’s a good time to send a greeting to your network. It can be professionally and seasonally neutral, but tap into the good will and bonhomie of the time which people are looking for to escape the never ending bad news. Your message can even be hand written. Who knows, someone might reciprocate!

Read: Take note of the hand written note.

#6 Volunteer

Many organisations look for volunteers to support food shelters, cheer up the elderly or make hospital visits within current social distancing protocols. Check out what is possible in your location.  This year your efforts will count more than ever and you never know who you might meet. This year volunteers are also being asked to support phone banks and phone trees to reach out to people who are isolated and away from their families. This could be your “calling.”

Read: 5 reasons why job seekers should volunteer

#7 Arrange networking meetings for January

Be proactive. The holiday period quite often means that people are swamped with invitations and obligations even in semi-lockdown situations they may have been moved online. Some are happy to defer and after the excesses of December it’s something to look forward to in the New Year. In 2022 we still don’t know if we will have tighter restrictions again.

This is a good time for positive forward thinking! And heaven knows we need it.

You might be holiday hater but for those who love this time of the year it maybe be especially tough. Think of them.

If you want to take advantage of the holidays season for job search get in touch!

 

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