Why was 2022 so hard…?

5th January, 2023

Dr. Emma Banks, CEO reflects on 2022 and what lies ahead in 2023.

2022 thank goodness we’re done with you.

Why did so many of us drag ourselves to the end of the year? This has never happened to me before – is it my age (keep the jokes to yourselves)? Going through a private equity deal? Or something else? I was, until quite recently unsure, but the more I see written, the more I realize that the past 2 years have been harder for everyone than perhaps we thought. Despite a seemingly easy ride through COVID and lockdowns compared to many, I feel it. And now we’re facing a potentially difficult 2023.

The old normal

My youngest son went through his A levels (the big school exams taken at age 18 in the UK) during COVID. His experience was not the norm – he didn’t sit an exam, he didn’t get to go to the pub on his 18th birthday; he didn’t get to celebrate finishing school. Why is this even important? Because our lives are peppered with experiences that form us – whether they are positive or negative and as a collective, we missed out on those experiences or they were very different from what we were used to. 

In the grand scheme of things, none of this is really that important as our health and family trump it all, but somehow I think we overdid 2022 and now we really need to find a new balance in both our professional and personal lives.

Stop with the pressure

As usual, social media has been full of new year resolution posts, making 2023 better than 2022 and quite honestly, I think we need to stop with the pressure.

How about making 2023 about being present, rolling with our experiences, enjoying the little things as much as the big milestones (and stripping back the number of meetings we have. More on that below).

We came through a global pandemic, and we rushed into 2022 with excitement but in the process many of us have felt exhausted, and let’s not forget, our immune systems have been assaulted this winter as we came into contact with more people and more bugs.

I have loved the engagement with other humans in 2022 – singing more, traveling more and getting used to a flexible and hybrid way of working. But it has also felt much harder than before Covid. 

How do we make 2023 more wholesome?

  • We need to commit to changing our ways of working – back-to-back online meetings need to become a thing of the past – we’ve been lazy and less respectful of people’s time. Question every meeting and agenda and make sure your attendance will add value.
  • Make use of the flexibility many businesses now embrace – take that walk at lunchtime; sleep later or start early so you can get to the appointment you’ve been putting off.
  • Slow down ever so slightly – take a breath, look at the world around you and appreciate it. 
  • Enjoy the people you spend time with but perhaps make some more time for yourself too.
  • Take care financially – crikey stating the obvious but 2023 is going to be a reset for everyone. Things are going to change and better to be as prepared as possible for that than bury your head in the sand and hope for the best.

Take back control

2023 will be a year to remember. Not because it will be better or worse than 2022 but because we have collectively taken back some control of our lives. 

I am glad 2022 is done – it was challenging and hard but we achieved a lot.

Life is not going to slow down but maybe, just maybe we can get a better balance, have fewer meetings and appreciate what we have right in front of us.

Words are great but action is more important

Walking the walk will be key in 2023, so if you’re in any way impacting people’s lives with your behaviors then please set the right example.

Life is relentless and more often than not so is work – but you can still go for that walk, eat your lunch in the garden and take your vacation, and enjoy many other things that fuel you and take care of your mental health and well-being. Small, positive adjustments will help us all get back our ‘Joie de Vivre’ and ensure 2023 becomes a year of balance.

Let’s take each day as it comes and try to make the most of the next twelve months.

(Cover image: Cambois Beach, Northumberland – featuring Emma’s husband Ian and their 2 dogs)