Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 by Rae Shanahan
Looking after everyone’s needs before your own? Not this AE. Hit pause and take a 5 minute mental health break with us.
AE is one of HR’s top priorities And within that, ensuring the wellbeing and good mental health of your employees tops the list. However, it’s equally important to remember to prioritize your own wellbeing, especially during a busy season like annual enrollment.
So, take a pause and a personal pulse check to evaluate how you’re feeling. Here are three things to help you recenter and put yourself first today.
1: You first. Your busy day second.
It’s easy to say, “it’s important to have boundaries” or “healthy work-life integration,” but what often gets left unsaid is that it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that requires ongoing support. While prioritizing yourself looks different for everyone, here are a few tips to help you develop and hold a long-term “you first” strategy:
- Know your non-negotiables: You’re not you when your basic needs aren’t being met. But beyond food, water, and sleep, it’s important to establish some additional boundaries and routines to support your wellbeing, whether it’s a mid-day nap, carving out no-screen time, or something else entirely that you’re committed to sticking with, even when your schedule is packed.
- Start planning: Plan your priorities, plan your time off, plan your meals. Truthfully, regardless of what you plan, the result will be a more productive, higher quality use of your time because you’ve baked it into your day (or week, or month).
- Find your joy: Whether that’s a daily positive affirmation or an intense morning workout, find something that makes you feel good, and make it a non-negotiable in your daily routine.
- Eat the frog: get the most challenging (or most daunting) tasks out of the way at the beginning of the day when you have the most energy.
2: No is a complete sentence.
But sometimes that sentence needs a bit more context for empathy and collaboration.
Kelli Thompson, a good friend of Businessolver and leadership coach, says, “Saying no can build just as much confidence as saying yes.” Kelli has a whole repertoire of responses for saying “no” so professionals can reclaim their time and cease the people-pleasing behavior that ends up being so detrimental for our mental health.
Here are a few good “no’s” you can keep in your back pocket (or on a sticky note at your desk):
- “Thank you so much for thinking of me for this opportunity, but I am currently committed to other things, so I won’t be available to take on this project.”
- “I can’t commit to this, but I know who you may be able to reach out to as a resource. Let me check with them and I’ll get back to you.”
- “Thanks for thinking of me, I can’t make that work for my schedule.”
- Or simply just “No.”
Once you get the hang of it, saying “no” will help feel empowered to do more of the things you actually want or need to do.
3: Lean on your resources
Remember, you’re not working in a silo, though it may certainly feel like it as we head into peak season for many of our HR partners.
Here are a few resources you can implement now to manage your time more efficiently:
- Deep work: often described as finding your “flow,” deep working is uninterrupted work time where you’re most productive. Some use white noise, lo-fi music, and low lighting (if possible, in your work environment) to attain a high level of focus.
- SMART goals: the tried-and-true method of setting goals, start by making one or 2 specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals that you’d like to accomplish. Keep them in plain sight, like on your desktop, or in a planner, or in a OneNote. Having this “light at the end of the tunnel” will help guide you like a north star focus on throughout the rest of the busy season.
- Prioritize: ask ChatGPT for examples of prioritization methods, and you may get over a dozen answers, but they essentially all say the same thing. Decide what’s most important (most valuable, or most urgent) and what’s going to take the most time. Start with those tasks and projects and block your schedule for uninterrupted time to work on them.
- Chase progress, not perfection: perfection isn’t attainable, especially during the busy season. If you’re struggling to finish something, stop and take a breath and ask yourself “is this good enough to call done, or is it bad enough to pause and come back to it later?” If you still need help, lean on your team, or your managers to push it over the finish line.
It’s important to realize that with technology, your teams and leaders, and small actions that make you feel fulfilled throughout your day, you can preserve your mental energy, and stave off burnout. This is why we at Businessolver say “it takes a WE for a successful AE.”
As you put the above steps into action for yourself, we’ve also put together a digital care package to help you take a moment. Check out Tracey’s mindfulness session for a refreshing break or get away from your desk and take a walk while you listen to a curated playlist. You can explore the AE kit here.