The days stay lighter longer and a wave of yellow pollen coats the streets in North Carolina. Must be Spring! Have our moods elevated? That depends. On the one hand, we are able to go outside more and soak in the sunshine while getting our steps in. Although, when we’re stuck in the “office” we’re longingly looking outside like we’re trapped in jail and want to take advantage of nice weather and carefree activities.
This year does have a different feel to it though, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s the availability of a vaccine, or having things more open and accessible, or maybe it’s just that we’re adapting to this “new norm.”
April happens to be representative of many observances- but as a wellness blog, we’ll focus on Stress Awareness Month. It’s no surprise that 67% of people reported increases in stress since the pandemic. In catering to our HR community, we want to provide some tips to encourage HR leaders to take care of themselves, because after all — how can you be expected to help others, when you yourself are not feeling your best?
TIP 1: PRACTICE SELF-CARE
How much more difficult is it to provide resources and add value when you are feeling overwhelmed and snowed under? It’s important to be your own boss of what you need in order to function optimally. Are you wanting to leave work an hour early? Or run an errand in the middle of the day? Do it. This will allow you to come back to work more refreshed. It’s like the airline policy- put your oxygen mask on first, before you help your children. HR leaders often mimic a Matriarch or Patriarch of the family, who people look to for guidance.
TIP 2: SET BOUNDARIES
With people working from home, the lines have been blurred between work and home life. Do you have an official workspace set up? Make that the only place you are checking work. Sitting on the couch watching a show? Refrain from pulling up your work email. Checking your phone first thing when you wake up in the morning? Wait until you are actually seated at your desk to start checking work email. This will allow you to be in a “work mindset” instead of feeling like work is cutting into what should be considered free time.
TIP 3: BLOCK OFF TIME FOR SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES
Are you ever in the middle of a project and someone calls asking for something else? What if you let that call go to voicemail instead and have an established time to check voicemails and work emails? Perhaps you start your day with an ongoing task you need to get done. Once you’ve checked that off your list, you will feel accomplished that it’s out of the way and can move onto your next project, or take a pause to check email and listen to voicemail. Blocking off time for specific activities, and actually scheduling it in your calendar, will allow you to stay on track, and feel like you are achieving more in a given day.
TIP 4: TAKE A LUNCH BREAK!
I cannot stress how important this is! Taking breaks throughout the day will enable you to be more productive. This is important, so we will belabor it. People think- “I don’t have time for breaks.” Our brains are not built to endure 8+ hours of mental stimulation without breaks. Get up and walk around for a minute, look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes, eat lunch without your phone or computer next to you and create a space for an official lunch break. Even if it’s 15 minutes of eating in silence, or listening to your favorite song, or sitting out on the patio, this will, in fact, lead you to a more productive afternoon.
Scheduling these activities into your phone or calendar will give you the best chance at success for incorporating them. As creatures of habit, the more we do a task, the more it starts to become second nature.
Remember that you are your biggest asset and play one of the most important roles in your company. Take care of yourself so you are better able to take care of others.