As another week draws to an end, the conversations I've had with HR leaders have been mixed, but one theme remains, none of them are doing enough (or anything at all) for themselves.
Self-care isn't all about yoga and the latest diet or a long soak in the bath, although if that works for you then please don't let me stop you. My daily non-negotiable include morning yoga, journalling, visualisation and meditation along with lots of water throughout the day, a walk with the dog and then my evening routine of no tech, a book and more yoga and meditation. For others it's weights or running, for some it's doing something creative, dancing round the house with kids or chilling with Netflix and chocolate.
But it's also important to remember that self-care isn't just tasks or time out. It's the way we speak to ourselves, our self-talk, our relationships and the environments we put ourselves in.
It breaks my heart to hear of more and more HR leaders who continue to stay in toxic environments, working with toxic 'leaders', with no recognition, no reward and very little autonomy.
I've spent the last hour of my Friday speaking to an HR leader who for the last year has been wanting to leave their role. We've never worked together in a coaching relationship, but we are in regular contact, and today, she's almost broken.
Even before Covid she was broken. Add the global pandemic and the recent #BLM movement and it's become too much. Leaders aren't listening and haven't been for years, yet now they think that she and her team can wave a magic wand and eradicate racism (that they have acknowledged may be inadvertently present), implement flexible working, and solve all of the people issues over the next two weeks. She's been fighting some of these battles for over 10 years.
Today we've discussed why she's stayed in this cycle and it's come down to the fact that she still believes she can fix it, she's conscientious, she's passionate about her work and she wants to make it a better place to work for all of the people. But it's breaking her. And I hear this time and time again.
And I've been there.
And working in this type of environment, working the long hours, repeatedly dealing with issue after issue, feeling down and broken, is the exact opposite of self-care. Listening to your family tell you that work is hurting you, and knowing it is but carrying on anyway, is not self-care. Allowing the toxicity of your work environment to destroy your self-confidence, and your self-belief is not self-care. And when you get to this point, a gin on a Friday night and a family/friend filled weekend may be amazing, but what about when Monday comes again?
Will that feeling of dread be there? Will the thought of another week be too much and too overwhelming?
Sometimes self care means walking away, being kind to yourself and taking the next step, no matter how hard it may feel.