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Five ways HR professionals can practice self-care

CHIEF OF STAFF FIVE: Employees often turn to the HR team for guidance and support in times of crisis, uncertainties, and difficulties. But at the end of the day, HR teams, who go above and beyond to create a safe space for others, are employees themselves who also need help when facing challenges.

Business leaders and employees sometimes forget that HR professionals are also heavily impacted by stressful situations at work but unlike them, do not have a support system. This has led to discussions on whether there should be an “HR for HR”.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, here are five ways HR professionals can practice self-care.

1. Lead the way

Companies are waking up to the importance of mental health and how it could affect employee engagement and productivity and business operations in general. This is why companies all over the world are coming up with initiatives that champion employee well-being. Usually, HR teams are tasked with developing, implementing, and evaluating these strategies.

While it is commendable that they encourage employees to take time off and pay more attention to their health, some HR professionals don’t practice what they preach. They work long hours, take on too much workload, don’t utilise their leave, and multitask – all while taking care of employees’ needs! Therefore, HR leaders should start walking the talk and play the role of self-care stalwarts. This will prevent burnout and will also inspire employees to take self-care seriously.

2. Create or connect with support groups

Support groups can be both internal and external. All employees have a designated manager to whom they can report whenever they have questions or concerns. This should also be the case for HR professionals. Companies should identify and designate other organisational leaders who can be part of the HR team’s support system.

Engaging with communities of industry peers and thought leaders is also important. This is because they understand better the intricacies of the HR industry and might have good advice for issues that HR teams are dealing with. The good thing is, you can easily find a community online. There are several groups on various social media platforms where one can connect and share thoughts and feelings with peers and like-minded individuals.

3. Set boundaries

HR professionals are seen as superheroes who can handle everything at once. While this is true, they are also mere humans and there are boundaries. Employees usually go to the HR team for professional and personal support but sometimes, HR personnel can’t help but be caught up in other people’s problems, and the emotional toll of one, two, or more employees venting out and asking for help becomes too much to handle.

To prevent this from happening, it is crucial for HR professionals to know their limits and commit to them by setting boundaries. Depending on the person, they can set certain rules such as not checking emails first thing in the morning and after work hours, delegating workload, learning to say no, asking help from other organisational leaders, allotting specific hours for employee consultations to avoid neglecting other tasks, and connecting employees with other professionals outside the company who can provide better assistance to their problems.

4. Aspire for work-life integration

Everyone, regardless of profession, struggles to juggle the professional and personal aspects of their lives. Usually, people tend to give more time and energy to their work, which is perfectly understandable. The shift to hybrid and remote work also makes it harder to strike a balance between work and personal life.

There is no one-size-fits-all for achieving work-life integration. But the first thing everyone must do is to identify what they want to achieve professionally and personally, and how they can be smarter and more efficient in dividing their time and resources for both goals. Start small. For example, avoid working overtime to make time for personal hobbies and interests.

Having that balance or integration that we want is a journey and there will be roadblocks along the way, but being aware and taking small steps will eventually pay off.

5. Recognise and reward yourself

It is normal to feel stressed and frustrated with the amount of workload as an HR professional. But instead of dwelling too much on the negative, you can shift your focus on your wins, no matter how big or small. So, the next time you do a good job or try to give your best, do not forget to pat yourself on the back and give yourself a reward.

Take some personal time off, treat yourself to a great lunch, watch a movie with loved ones, have a massage, buy a new coffeemaker, or catch up on sleep. Do anything that will make you happy and satisfied because of a job well done.

If you think your company’s employees should learn to love themselves more, then so do you.

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