4 Tips for a Healthy Work Life Balance for People Professionals
These past eighteen months have turned an already challenging job on its head. With the global pandemic altering when, where, and how we work, HR demands have increased as the pandemic wages on.
With this much work to do, many HR leaders haven’t been able to step away from the job to take a much-needed break for themselves, mentally and physically. According to a recent survey, 70 percent of people professionals said that this last year had been the most stressful in their careers. That says a lot, considering HR was ranked as one of the most stressful careers before the pandemic.
Additionally, HR has put their teams first, prioritizing employees’ physical, mental, and financial wellness during these challenging times, overlooking their own wellbeing. Failing to fill their own cup before pouring into others, leaves people professionals burned out and exhausted.
And with the holiday season quickly approaching, stress is multiplying. Because of this, there’s no time like the present to revisit some best practices for maintaining a healthy work life balance for people professionals themselves.
If you’re in need of a rebalancing, here are four tips for prioritizing work-life balance for HR.
Tip #1: Learn to Say No
To make sure you’re not tied to your work email 24/7/365, you’re going to have to learn to say no. People professionals are overly generous with their time—because they love what they do. However, Duke University recently found that people tend to take advantage of passionate employees as opposed to dispassionate ones, such as asking them to work on the weekend or take on tasks that are not part of their jobs.
To set some (much needed) boundaries, sometimes, you’ll have to say no. Saying no allows you to focus on what needs to be done, instead of being stretched too thin. It allows you to schedule a walk or spend time with family or friends, helping you find more balance each day.
Not only will saying no prevent meetings and events from crowding your already full calendar, but it will help others manage their expectations. If you set the boundary of not answering emails on the weekend, then no one will expect a response before Monday. Saying no to others means saying yes to yourself. Go ahead, try saying no this week!
Tip #2: Practice Mindfulness
We all know that HR is a highly stressful profession. But, HR can better combat this stress by confronting the underlying issues causing the stress instead of just the symptoms arising from it.
Enter the practice of mindfulness.
Over the past several years, there has been an uptick in people professionals using mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness can improve work life balance for HR, by reducing stress and anxiety while giving overall wellbeing a boost. And, luckily, people professionals don’t have to be an expert in Zen meditation to practice mindfulness.
You can simply close your eyes and focus on your breathing for five minutes. Or you can sit quietly, focusing on the ticking of a clock or watching the wind blow through the trees. When practicing mindfulness, you focus on the present moment, calmly concentrating.
As reported by the American Psychological Association, this simple practice can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, mindfulness can reduce fatigue and pain while boosting your immune system.
So, what do you say? Ready to take five for yourself?
Tip #3: Get Some Sleep
Get some ZZZs. Although often easier said than done, prioritize your sleep schedule. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 10-30 percent of U.S. adults struggle with insomnia, and 35 percent sleep for less than seven hours a night, below the recommended amount. In addition, not enough sleep impairs your creativity, focus, and productivity.
To get better sleep, consider going to bed at the same time each night. End your workday at the same time each day (if possible). Create a routine before bed, such as limiting screen time, having a cup of tea, or meditating. With sleep deprivation impacting your immune system, emotions, decision-making, and overall physical and mental health, it’s time to prioritize sleep in your day.
Tip #4: Eat Healthy
Finally, don’t forget to eat healthy. Although this can be challenging when your day is squeezed with meetings and to-do lists, your body and mind will work better with nutritious fuel.
Eating healthy at home, outside of the workday, is one thing. However, eating healthy while working can be more challenging.
To overcome this, build a routine around your workday lunch and snacks for success. For example, instead of grabbing the first thing you see (which is probably unhealthy food), prepare simple meals ahead of time that you can take to work or grab out of the fridge if you’re working from home.
For snacks, reach for fruit, veggies, or seeds instead of sweets or chips. Like your lunch, preparation is critical. For instance, chop up some veggies ahead of time, so they’re easy to grab on busy days.
And finally, don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. Eating and drinking well can boost your engagement, creativity, memory, and curiosity while enhancing your mood.
You’re used to taking care of everyone else in your organization. But don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Your body and mind will thank you.