Op-Ed: You Matter

Abena Osei-Poku, MD of Absa Bank

I remember it like yesterday when 2020 came to an end. It had been one of the most unprecedented years in history, especially due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic. 2021 was predicted to be a better year – a year in which the world will gradually glide towards the end of a dark tunnel with a ray of sunshine staring down at humankind.

Suffice it to say that this year has been a step up from the previous one. Now as we bring the curtains down, what highlights pop up for you? Some of us made resolutions and realised that we had exceeded them by mid-year; others parted ways with their resolutions before the first month elapsed. And there are still some, who did not even bother. .

Christmas is a favourite time of the year for many reasons. For me, it is a constant reminder of the Saviour’s birth  and all that it means to us in the Christian faith. There is something very captivating about the carols, the family gatherings, the costumed masqueraders, and even the harmattan feel. Beyond all these, Christmas  is a reminder of life’s higher purpose. The charity theme that is usually commonplace at this time is one I also take very seriously,

 Three things to consider as we race towards the twilight moments of 2021:

 REST feeds the body, mind and soul

Not all companies in Ghana have official break periods over the Christmas holidays. If you are fortunate enough to work in one that does, it is a great opportunity to get some rest. After working for twelve months, the chance to put work on the back burner and enjoy some quality time with friends and family may not come around for another year. Make the most of this one. If you have the means, enjoying  a change of scenery is a good idea. Travel out of the city for a few days with a good book or a group of friends. Whether it is reconnecting with nature or a fun activity, it rejuvenates you. Engage in a relaxing hobby that will take your mind off things. Try gardening if you can. You can even go on walks to reconnect with yourself.  It is important to remain in the present. Today is all that we have, and getting your batteries recharged will do you a world of good.

 REFLECT for greater self-awareness

This season is an opportunity to reflect and reset. Not all of us are able to do deep introspection. To be fair, it is a skill to be learned, but as hard as you can, take a look back at the year and make an assessment. I have found the Christmas break to be a solemn enough time to analyse what went right and what went wrong. By noting where I can improve on myself, I have been able to avoid past mistakes. Visiting a mentor to talk about life in general can bring a lot of clarity. As much as possible, leave the career conversations for another time. You should not forget to take a gift along. It does not need to be expensive. At the heart of it, it shows appreciation for your mentor in ways they may never forget. It helps if you know what your mentor likes. It makes selecting a gift much easier and more meaningful. If you are a parent, assess how you are doing in the lives of your children. Have you been as involved as you would have liked to be?

 REGROUP for a better future.

Finally, with an eye to the future, draw up a plan for the coming year with measurable goals. In my experience, having a definite plan works best. I write about my plans for work, personal development, family finances, my spiritual life and other areas that are important to me. I get that some people do not like the added pressure of New Year resolutions, but I cannot imagine going through the year without a plan of some sort, preferably written down with well-defined goals that are achievable. Sometimes, I have taken a personal retreat where I shut myself away from the world for a short time and come back with new ideas that have taken me to a new level. Make yourself a priority this festive season. As the architect of your life, nobody knows your journey better than you do. This Christmas, take time to Rest, Reflect and Regroup. You will be the better for it. You matter!


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