HR In a Crisis: How to Care for Yourself & Your Company
Human Resources Tools & Communities, Resiliency Planning, and Workplace Self-Care Assessment
Hone Your Workplace Resilience Toolkit
As you are being stretched and challenged in new ways at work, developing and honing healthy workplace resilience practices will support your well-being and overall impact and effectiveness in your role. (Good news, these practices and benefits aren’t limited to just work). We spoke with mental health professional Alex Yannacone who is the Director of Education and Community Programs at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center in Colorado which provides programs and trainings to address mental health issues, to share a few best practices to help face times of uncertainty:
- Create a resiliency plan. Take stock of past adversities and challenges to help you navigate what you are facing today. How have you successfully overcome challenges in the past? What tools and coping methods did you use? How did that feel? While it goes without saying that what we are facing right now is highly unique, we can use skills from those past experiences to help us cope now.
- Shift the focus from what we can’t control to what we can. We are facing big questions that we just don’t have the answers to— no one does. Focusing on the uncertainty and what we can’t control is overwhelming and can feel really heavy. By recognizing what we can control, and taking things one day at a time, we can regain focus and take our power back.
- Make plans and goals – for your organization and yourself. We all know the incredibly gratifying experience of checking a box on our to-do list. What we may not always recognize is the immediate and forward-thinking positive effects of that check. So make a goal, regardless of how small or obvious it seems, achieve it, and check it off. In that simple act you are able to focus on something you can control, and flex your resiliency muscle. You are going to need that muscle to face and effectively navigate the days and months ahead.
Self-Assess, then Self-Care
We know HR is being called on right now in unprecedented ways. You can’t show up in the way you want to unless you take care of yourself first. It’s the whole, “put on your safety/oxygen mask before you assist others” concept. Caring for yourself is vital, and we also recognize it can feel impossible to do so right now.
Research shows that when we engage in self-care, we are more productive even during the most stressful of times. This means that if we feel guilty or like we don’t have time, we are actually doing a disservice to ourselves and to our company because we’re not able to handle stressors well. It’s important to recognize that when you create space and commit to self-care, you are modeling self-care for your team, and in doing so, you will function better as a whole.
Self-care shouldn’t be a chore, rather it should be something you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be big and overwhelming, it can be something as small taking five minutes a day to turn off all devices and just be. In partnership with Alex Yannacone, we adapted this self-care assessment tool to help you identify areas of self-care in your life that you are engaging in and areas you can improve.
There can be additional opportunities for your resiliency plan and self-care to serve your work, team and company. We’ve established that when you take care of yourself, you can show up to the various facets of your life, including work, in a more authentic, empathetic, and productive way. While you should engage in what makes the most sense for you personally, if learning or self-growth are things that give you energy, think about exploring topics that are top-of-mind and seeking out constructive articles, informative books, or easy-to-access online courses.
In addition, here some self-care ideas that have surfaced during Alex’s recent trainings. Remember, small things make a big impact when you’re short on time.
- Set boundaries
- Set an alarm for bedtime
- Create a grateful jar or happy jar (with happy jar put things in it that have brought you joy and read through them at the end of a week, month or year)
- Journal 1x a week or when feeling really stressed
- Make exercise a task (riding bike to grocery store, gardening)
- Learn something new from your child (learn to skateboard from teenage son)
- Have a safely distanced lunch with a coworker (meet in a parking lot and eat on the trunk of your cars)
- Secret Chef (group of friends cook meals and eat them together on Zoom and try to guess who the chef is)
- Have the motto: ‘If it’s not a “hell yes” I don’t have to do it.’ This is only for personal life but meaning that you don’t have to take on extra responsibilities that you aren’t passionate about
In a profession that asks you to serve others, turning the focus inward and asking the tough questions about what you need as an HR professional and human is hard work. And, creating that space to do so is vital in order to face what is being demanded of HR professionals right now. While there is no ‘one size fits all’ roadmap to successfully meeting the challenges of HR right now, our hope is that seeking support through community, resilience, and self-care can help you to show up to the tough work ahead of us all in the ways that make the most sense for you.