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Disclaimer: This is an end-of-year post that is not filled with all our high-hitting impact and success stories like you might expect. I am not listing off all the projects we did that I am proud of and trying to push you to look at them all again. But instead, it is a raw look at how I am feeling at the end of another very hard year, knowing that the hard stuff is far from over.

If you are feeling at all emotionally drained, I recommend you just close this screen now. But if you are feeling like you might have the capacity to take on some emotional baggage, I welcome you to keep reading.

Wherever you are today, I am grateful that you showed up in whatever capacity you have.

Take (self) care,

Jenn

It is the end of 2021 and I’m not sure about you, but I am completely spent. I am ready to close down this year with some much-needed and deserved rest but I still have this tingly feeling in the back of my neck about what happens when I take a break.

This is a tension that so many of us live with in the social innovation and nonprofit sector, it is a product of perfectionism, a sense of urgency, and the either/or mentality that are just friendly reminders that white supremacy lives in all of us.

This year has been exhausting in every sense of the word. In this year, I have experienced more loss, more grief, sprinkled with gratitude, witnessing more inequities, some glimpses of humanity, and then someone hit the repeat button and it would happen all over again.

At the beginning of 2021, I started signing off my emails with “Take (self) care” because I had spent so much of 2020 watching people continue to push themselves to maintain a level of “normal” that was damaging and harmful.

Part of me was wishing that folx I was working with would just stop, take a deep breath and assess if what they were asking for of themselves and others was really the most important thing at that moment.

Part of me was offering this as an invitation to folx I was supporting to remember that our relationship and how we care for each other comes first.

Part of me was saying this as a reminder to myself when my perspective was being clouded.

I would like to imagine that this made a small difference in at least a few people’s days this year.

Throughout 2021, as an organization, we also adopted the rule of “Take (self) care” into setting up braver spaces. We work every day at making it a priority to take care of ourselves as individuals within our team so that we can be better together. There are days when that is harder than others, but that we work at showing up in whatever capacity we have or communicating if we can’t. We prioritize personal check-ins before project check-ins. We cannot do the work we do without valuing the person first and all that comes with them.

There is so much uncertainty going on around us that is out of our control and so we focus on being each other’s people, in order to care for our futures.

With all that said, we are signing off for the year so that we can attempt to rest and recover for 2022.

Once again, take (self) care,

Jenn

Jennifer Chan

Jennifer Chan

Jenn has been working with nonprofits and communities for over 10 years guiding design thinking and strategic foresight processes. Jenn believes in facilitating conversations lead by the community to find pain points that drive and ground new ideas.

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