My Christmas wish for you (and why you’ll want it)

Last week I turned 50 and felt showered with attention, gifts, and wishes. Loren, a friend from New Zealand reached out on Facebook “Happy Belated Birthday Toni. I’m feeling exhausted which is why this note is a few days late, I’m struggling with the headspace to get everything done at the moment”.

I hear you Loren.

This year the feeling of ‘getting to the end’ as Xmas approaches feels different.

We’ve been in a pandemic this year, something none of us have experienced before.

Resilient people find a way to cope with uncertainty, view setbacks as temporary, and bounce back when things don’t go to plan.

COVID has not been temporary – it’s been a nearly whole year of uncertainty, where the new ‘next normal’ has still been within the context of working and living at home within tight restrictions (I’m in Victoria). No wonder we’re exhausted.

In Tara Haelle’s article¹ she talks about how early on in the pandemic, we used our surge capacity: a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — we draw on for short-term survival in stressful situations, for example, a natural disaster. Pandemics are different — the disaster itself stretches out indefinitely. 

Think of humans as being like cars that run on gas. Everything is fine while there’s gas. No one can run on empty. When our surge capacity depletes, we need to renew it. Trouble is, we haven’t had the opportunity to renew our surge capacity because the pandemic has been chronic. Which explains why we’ve felt exhausted and stressed the longer we’ve been coping with COVID. We’ve been trying to run on empty.

My Christmas wish for you is that you take time to replenish yourself

You are the only person who can reinvigorate yourself. Give yourself the gift of replenishing your capacity reserves over the Christmas break. Don’t get trapped by Christmas busyness and getting everything done on your to do list. I encourage you to discern your time off wisely so, as best you can, start 2021 with a ‘full tank of gas’. How you achieve it is up to you. I reckon this opportunity could be your best gift this year.

I’m feeling grateful for everyone who has helped me get through this year, and I’m also looking forward to being face to face again with my wonderful clients next year. Virtual has been great, but it’s not the same as being in the room with you!

Thank you for being part of my leadership community this year. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends (together where possible and virtually where not).

¹ Our Brains Struggle to Process This Much Stress | Elemental (

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