Recruiting is a tough job. It’s stressful, demanding, and it can be difficult to leave it at the office - literally, and figuratively. The holidays are approaching, and now more than ever, you need to give yourself permission to do exactly that. This year, make the holidays a time of self-care for you.
Let’s just take a moment and indulge in some commiseration, shall we? Recruiting is hard work. Really hard work. Sure, other jobs have demanding workloads, like recruiting does. Other careers demand long hours, like recruiting. Other vocations have you juggling numerous balls all the time, like recruiting. Few jobs have all these characteristics together, though. And fewer still have the aspect that probably makes recruiting the hardest job of all: the human element that is present in every single thing you do.
You’re constantly in the balance between someone making one of the biggest decisions of their life, and a vacancy where finding the right person is critical. Not many jobs live in that kind of constant pressure. And then there’s the unpredictability. You deal with humans every single moment of every single day. Humans that can behave unpredictably, even irrationally. Humans that can make unexpected decisions. As legendary recruitment trainer Peter Leffkowitz says, recruiters sell the only ‘product’ that can say no. All of this adds up to a career choice that’s one of the most stressful you could make.
Even if recruiting weren’t as stressful a career as it is, today’s world comes along with a great deal of pressure to ‘keep up’. Keep up with who, or what? Good question, but keep up anyway. Hustle. Grind. Sleep. Repeat.
Here’s the thing: that just isn’t sustainable. Sure, you can push when you need to; we all do. But a career is a marathon. You just can’t run sprint after sprint, and hope to keep running at full speed.
You need downtime. It’s just as important as the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the water you drink. If you don’t give your brain and body the break they need, they will ultimately break down. At first, that breakdown might just mean performing at a lower level. That’s the warning sign. If you ignore it, you’re putting yourself at risk of burnout.
Self-care isn’t indulgent. It’s how you stay in peak form. Giving yourself the time you need to recover and recharge helps you to perform better. You will be a better employee, and a more effective professional, if you practise better self-care. To do this requires two things. First, an understanding of what good self-care looks and feels like. And second, the discipline to practise it.
The holidays are a great time to develop both of these competencies. Once you have, you can put them to work all year round for better physical health and mental health alike. Think about using the upcoming holiday season to build some good self-care habits. Let’s start with what some of those habits look like.
First, some pre-break habits.
When things get hectic, our to-do lists get longer. Cluttered with small things that, when piled together, feel like a mountain that you don’t have the time or energy to climb. Going into a break with that lengthy list on your mind will be a distraction. Make a list of all the things that have built up over the last few weeks and months. Now, look for some easy, low-hanging fruit, and pick off as many as you can. You’ll go into your break with a shorter list, a clearer mind, and a feeling of accomplishment.
When you’re away from work, be away from work. Set an out-of-office reply on your email and voicemail, making it clear that you’re not reachable (and, where appropriate, offering an alternate way to get assistance). Don’t let your phone take your brain back to the office when your body’s not there. If you carry a work-specific device, put it away. If you have a device that’s both personal and work, turn off the work email account and calendars so you’re not pinged with notifications.
Two notes on this. First, we realise that not everyone can fully disconnect. Clearly, you’ve got to apply boundaries that are right for your specific circumstance. And second, managers have a role to play here. If you’re texting your employees while they’re supposed to be on a break, you’re not giving them the opportunity to practise self-care. And if you make a point of being visibly reachable 24/7/365, you’re not modelling good self-care. When you’re a leader, be mindful of the example you set for others.
Okay, so now you’re fully disconnected from work for the holidays. All done, right?
Not so fast. The holidays themselves are hectic and pressure-filled, in their own way. That’s what makes them a great opportunity to build better self-care habits that last all year. Let’s look at a few of those.
Humans are wired for connection. Even the most introverted among us thrive when we spend time with people we love. Make time for quality time. Put down the phone, leave the social media alone for a bit (don’t worry, it’ll still be there for you later). Be fully present, and savour the moments you spend together making memories.
During the high-pressure work weeks, we don’t often have the choice to be truly by ourselves. Meetings and phone calls consume the workday, and time with our family occupies the evenings and weekends. Even extroverts need time alone. Time to reflect and to be with your thoughts. Maybe time to engage in a quiet hobby that you enjoy and don’t always have time for. In short, the time to appreciate your own company.
Physical activity is good for the body, for the heart, and for the mind. Go to the gym, hit the streets for a run, go for a nice stroll, roll out the yoga mat, or challenge someone to a dance-off. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but find a way to crank your heart rate up every day.
The food and drink we put into our body is the fuel we run on. Cleaner fuel means a cleaner engine. This can be a tough one over the holidays. Tables filled with delicious foods … that also happen to be high in fat and carbs. Endless trays of cookies and candies making the rounds. And of course the adult beverages, for those who partake. Treat yourself, naturally, but aim for a healthier balance when you can.
The holidays can also make it tough to get a good night’s sleep. Between the parties and holiday open houses to attend, and overly-excited kids who just won’t get to bed on time, there are plenty of things to keep you from the rest you need. Even at the best of times, many of us don’t get enough rest - not even close to the seven or eight hours doctors say we need. There can be serious health consequences. Whenever you can, give your body and brain the chance to reboot and recharge with restful sleep.
Meditation has gone mainstream. It helps build the ‘muscle’ of focused attention, which will help you be more effective in your working and personal life, and help you deal better with stress and anxiety, too. If you’ve never tried it before, check out apps like Headspace or Insight Timer to help you get started. If meditation is still a bit too ‘woo-woo’ for you, think about mindfulness practices, like simply focusing on one single thing for a few minutes every day.
These are all excellent strategies for self-care. Knowing them is half the battle. The other half is having the discipline to put them in action.
To give yourself the greatest chance of success, make a plan. Commit in writing to doing even a few of these things, to incorporating them into your life over the holidays. Keep that plan close at hand, and remind yourself every morning about your self-care intentions. And then, go easy on yourself. Part of self-care is self-forgiveness. If you fall into old habits, it’s not the end of your plan. Just tell yourself, “Course correction!’ and get back in the groove.
Recruiting was tough in 2022, and there’s no indication that 2023 will be any different. (Although, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that you can make your work a bit easier by automating steps like background checks.)
This is our holiday wish for you. Take care of yourself this holiday season, and get ready to take on a prosperous new year in health and happiness.
Keen to take the hassle out of the hiring process? Get in touch today to get started. 🦾