Throughout the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, many HR professionals feel as if they have had an additional full-time job bolted on top of their already high demanding workload. This summer is the first time for most people working in HR, that we feel we can truly get a break. And boy, do we deserve it.
As a HR professional you probably feel like they have to be ‘available’ at any given time to deal with urgent situations, and this leads to a very real risk of ‘burnout’ with high demands on a daily basis with no let-up. You are likely the ‘go-to’ people for anything that relates to, well, people! As well as being responsible for the fire-fighting the daily issues which are arising, they are busy adapting policies to reflect remote working, inclusivity and employment law considerations. You’re also probably leading the new and improved wellbeing programme at work, often with the result of putting yourself last.
So the whole Let’s Talk Talent team got together and wrote down their top self care and wellbeing tips for the summer. There’s a lot of recurring themes here. Getting outside, doing some exercise, putting down your phone and eating summery things be it salads or BBQ.
Here’s the full list below to help you decompress, and relax over this summer period.
How to relax over your summer holidays, top tips from the Let’s Talk Talent Team
Jo Taylor’s wellbeing tip
I highly recommended getting out and exploring. Go for a walk. Find a spot you’ve not explored before.
This year I’ve been doing the London Loop (a 150 mile loop, split into 24 sections) with my dog Dylan who brings me calmness and joy. Of course Dylan forces my hand a little, as he needs a walk. But it’s been incredible to explore areas in and around London that I’ve never made it to before – and to see it all in quite a different light.
Craig Howells’ wellbeing tips
Get some physical exercise in!
I tend to get out and exercise where I can, get out on the road bike. Last weekend I rode 85km, including as well as almost 1km of climbing. A highlight was the climb up to Cheddar Gorge.
BBQ in the garden.
Also many of you know I like to BBQ a lot (Editor’s note: really a lot) and I feel cooking for me is the perfect way to switch off from work and get my mindset into home life rather than work. Especially when working from home.
Catherine Wilson’s wellbeing tips
Get yourself a new hobby or develop an existing one.
I love gardening and have recently taken up open water swimming. Both allow me to switch off my brain and are a good excuse for some alone time.
Spend time with the people you really want to.
Summer is such a social time and I love a good party but I find sometimes it’s nice just to spend a lazy afternoon with my kids, husband or mum. Carve out that time as it’s precious and can really help you relax and recharge.
Claire Koryczan’s wellbeing tip
Take a walk and take a ‘wrong’ turn.
I live by the canal in a busy city and love going on long walks by the water or going on an ‘unusual’ walk/bus ride with my son where we look for weird and wonderful things to discover together. Sometimes even taking the wrong turn and finding somewhere new can be nourishing for the creative soul. A picnic in the park for dinner, rather than sitting inside at the dining room table is great for reconnecting with nature, and each other. Combine this with a dose of vitamin D from the sun and you have a brilliant evening mood booster. And something as simple as laying on the grass and looking up at the trees while reflecting on the philosophical nature of life I love too.
Mike Gippert’s wellbeing tip
Social media switch off. Focus on the now.
I would recommend a technology and social media ‘switch off’ for an hour every day. This frees up your mind to go for a walk or read a book with no distractions and just focusing on the now. Make spending the time on the things you love most (gym, cooking etc) as easy as possible.
Joni Smith’s wellbeing tip
Do more of the the things you love.
What I do to relax is to sit under a tree with my feet in a paddling pool with an ice cold glass of Rosè.
Charlie Southwell’s wellbeing tip
Get out of phone signal and see some countryside.
I’m taking days off at the end of July to do a 5 day hike where there is little to no phone signal. I’ll be exploring the mountainous region called Tusheti in Georgia across the ridge and walk across the Atsunta pass at 3431 meters above sea level.
Nikki’s wellbeing tip
Take a holiday from tech.
This summer I’ll be taking a holiday away from tech, and getting into the countryside as much as possible.
Anna Hewitt’s wellbeing tip
Do something completely different.
My tip is to do something completely different from the day job, this could be learn a new skill like drawing, creative writing, coding, learn a new language, mindful colouring in, relish in the opportunity to step out of the day-day identity as a senior leader and harness your curiosity and perhaps develop a new passion along the way.
Lucy Sampson’s wellbeing tip
Make time to play.
Find some time for play. Goofing off with friends, throwing a frisbee, acting out charades at a party or going on a bike ride with friends. Play is shown to release endorphins, improve brain function and stimulate creativity – it can even keep us young and energetic – and improves our relationships and connection with others.
Tameeka Smith’s wellbeing tip
Don’t be scared to say no.
My tip is being ok with saying no. Especially to things that will take your time and energy away from any personal or professional focus. Enjoy and make space for that time with the family, or working on the things you love.
Alex Terry’s wellbeing tip
Play music and let the mind wander.
One of my favourite things is to play music. I find it really hard to switch my mind out of work or worrying and thoughts can linger no matter what I do. But when I put different types of music on for different moments then it really snaps me out of it. I like to play Spanish music in the kitchen to make me feel like I’m on holiday when making dinner and I find it changes the whole atmosphere and can lighten the mood of the house (particularly through this exam time!!). And I find music helps me mark the end of the working day too.
Louise Gutteridge’s wellbeing tip
Make a refreshing salad.
Nigel Slater is my goto for simple, seasonal salads. Shopping for ingredients in local markets. Even the slicing and dicing can be meditative.
Marina’s wellbeing tip
Stay outside, BBQ and watch less TV.
Like Craig, I BBQ a lot so I get to spend more time outside. It also has the added bonus of watching less TV and avoiding computer and emails as much as possible in my time off.
David’s wellbeing tip
Be kind to yourself.
We often expect so much of ourselves. My tip is self kindness. Ambition and stretch is fine but burnout and squeeze are helpful to no-one. So watch your inner dialogue and ask:
a) am I expecting too much of myself
b) what do I need to do to take care of my basic needs right now.
As HR professionals we are so used to taking care of everyone else we forget to put the mask on ourselves first. Kindness, like charity, begins at home.
Cari Silver’s wellbeing tip
Disconnect from technology.
My tip is disconnecting from tech. Or setting firm boundaries around the time that you are ‘plugged in’ or online.
Turn off the phone, don’t read emails, switch off the news. If it helps, tell people that you are going offline for a few days, a week. Your mind and body will thank you for it .
Juliett Bohanna’s wellbeing tip
Focus on the simple things. And release your frustration.
The way I relax and recuperate is focus on the little things, those simple pleasures that I loved as a child. Picnics etc. I am also regularly finding time for yoga and kickboxing so that’s a combo of calming and frustration release.
Stefano Battaglia’s wellbeing tip
Recharge all your energy types.
I would suggest to try recharging your battery focus on all types of energy. For me, it’s about recharging physical energy with good sleep (sometimes for an afternoon nap as well), doing a bit of exercise (like running or swimming) and eating nice fish and lots of fruits. Recharging my emotional and social energy by spending quality time with family and friends while maintaining high-positive energy and avoid or minimise any worries or stress. Recharging my focus energy by dedicating full attention to my activities without much or any mental distractions (especially if coming from work) and finally recharging my purpose energy by visiting some new places, make any new experiences, and read a couple of good books.
Jo Henwood’s wellbeing tip
Time for a strategic review.
For HRDs without the burden of all your day to day, it can be a great time to review wider strategy and get planning for next year while it is quieter.
Conclusion: HRs need to find time to switch off from work this summer to recharge
Actually this isn’t just HRs, everyone needs a bit of a break. But HR in general has shouldered a lot of the burden these past few years and not is the time to truly embrace stepping away to recharge.
Our top tips for HRs this summer are:
- Get outside (into the countryside)
- Get some exercise
- Visit somewhere new
- Leave the phone / tech at home
- Spend time with the people you really want to
- Spend time doing your hobby, and focus on being present
- Try to get some good sleep
- Eat summery foods
- Be kind to yourself
And as a cheeky bonus
- Sign up to our free webinars and courses on WhatsApp for the rest of the year
What did we miss? Any tips you want to share? or any thing exciting you’re doing this summer? Email Charlie and we’ll update the post.