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Self-Care for HR Professionals

female employee, sitting with closed eyes at office desk, keep calm in stressed situation

Over the past few years, HR professionals have been tasked with the monumental responsibility of recruitment, retention and supporting employee mental health and wellbeing through the pandemic and the Great Resignation.

They’ve done a phenomenal job navigating these challenges, implementing innovative strategies to keep teams engaged, fostering environments conducive to virtual collaboration, and being an empathetic ear for employees navigating personal and professional storms.

However, HR professionals' self-care has, more often than not, taken a back seat. The time has come for these custodians of corporate culture to take the in-flight safety advice we are all familiar with: "Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others."

HR leaders must prioritize their well-being with the same passion they put into advocating for others to ensure they have the strength to continue their pivotal role in shaping the future of work.

Defining self-care: beyond the occasional indulgences

Self-care is a term that gets bandied about, often conjuring images of indulgent spa days or the clinking of glasses at a much-needed happy hour. While such activities can provide a temporary respite from the rigors of a demanding profession, true self-care goes beyond one-time events.

Proper self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve your health and well-being, particularly during periods of stress. It is the consistent habits and routines you’ve built (or will build) into your daily or weekly routine.

For HR professionals, who are often consumed by the well-being of others, self-care is a strategic practice that is as essential as any other business strategy. It is about creating a sustainable way of working and living that allows for rejuvenation and resilience.

7 tips for practicing self-care

Here are seven actionable tips for HR professionals to incorporate into their lives, ensuring they can continue to support others while also taking care of themselves.

1. Practice having a positive mindset

A positive mindset is the cornerstone of resilience. It's about cultivating gratitude and focusing on solutions rather than problems. This doesn't mean ignoring challenges but rather approaching them with optimism and the belief that you have the skills and resources to manage them effectively.

The word “practice” is key here because positivity is a skill we all need to work on. You can support this practice with:

  • Affirmations – positive self-talk

  • Focusing on appreciation — write it down

  • Managing your influences —surround yourself with positive people

2. Schedule your distractions

In an age of constant connectivity, distractions are inevitable. Instead of letting them derail you, schedule time for them. Allow yourself short breaks to browse social media, read the news, or engage in other forms of entertainment. This controlled approach to distractions helps you be more mindful and present throughout the rest of your day.

3. Prioritize sleep

Sleep is the foundation of health and mental well-being. As an HR professional, you need to be well-rested to make sound decisions and manage the complexities of your role.

It’s not easy. In fact, according to a recent study by Nuffield Health, HR professionals are the least likely of all professionals to say they have good sleep.

You can prioritize sleep by establishing a regular sleep schedule and adopting a calming pre-sleep routine, including reducing screen time before sleeping.

4. Set clear intentions

Are you in charge of your day, or does the day happen to you?

Begin each day or week with a clear intention. What do you want to achieve? How do you want to feel? Setting intentions helps to guide your focus and actions, ensuring you stay aligned with your personal and professional goals.

5. Care for your computer-bound body

Long hours in front of a computer can take a toll on your body. Incorporate regular stretching or yoga into your routine, ensure your workspace is ergonomically set up, and take frequent breaks to walk and move.

Consider alternative seating, such as a kneeling chair, exercise ball, or a stool with a standing desk. These promote “active sitting” and keep your body more engaged throughout the day than a traditional desk chair.

Caring for your body this way can prevent the aches and pains associated with a desk job.

6. Moderate your expectations

It's essential to set high standards, but unrealistic expectations can lead to unnecessary stress. Recognize that perfection is unattainable. Learn from mistakes and move forward without self-criticism.

Be kind to yourself. Avoid overcommitting yourself and others by practicing saying no.

7. Establish a healthy and productive morning routine

How you start your day sets the tone for the hours that follow. Develop a morning routine that energizes and centers you. This might include exercise, meditation, a nutritious breakfast, quiet time to plan your day, and time for investing in your own personal and professional development.

Remember, a consistent morning routine starts the night before. Plan how you will begin your day and ensure everything you need for a healthy and productive morning is ready and available so you’re not scrambling to fit self-care into an already hectic period.

By integrating these seven tips into your life, you'll take proactive steps to maintain your well-being. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it's essential, especially for those in the business of caring for others.


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Jon Hubbard, Shareholder, Consultant, at Boomer Consulting helps accounting firm leaders find success in the areas of leadership, talent and growth. Jon is a facilitator for the Boomer P3 Leadership Academy, Boomer Talent Circle and Boomer Marketing & BD Circle. He also guides firms to grow and be more effective in the areas of client service, marketing and business development.   

Jon speaks at various industry conferences, user conferences, state societies, and associations. He is a Storybrand Certified Guide and Certified Kolbe Consultant.

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