You might be a nurse, teacher, aged care worker, a parent, childcare worker, HR professional or work in hospitality – but each of these industries require a certain type of someone. Where you give a lot of yourself and put yourself on the backburner to give your customer or client a wonderful experience. Being this type of person can sometimes mean it is hard to look after yourself instead of looking after everyone else.
With an extensive background in hospitality, I have had some amazing opportunities and the ability to work internationally and here in Australia! Experiences with customers have led to the best feelings – when I have truly exceeded their expectations. On the flip side, also the worst experiences and having to manage difficult, complex problems where the customer thinks they are always right.
Working initially as a restaurant manager saw me working long hours, investing in employees and customers. Whilst I thrived off this type of environment, the burnout happened, and I found myself struggling with no time for anything but work and other people. Through it all I had lost what was important for myself personally and in my career. Taking a sideways step for me, into recruitment and HR meant I could find some balance. Initially I was still recruiting into hospitality – so an area I was confident in and loved. However, it made me really realise the balance needs to be there. This balance might not happen every day, but by slowly keeping a check on myself it is becoming a common practice.
For me, one of the big areas was to stop saying “Yes”. Working in an industry where you may always have to say “Yes” or being the go-to person who always finds themselves saying “yes” can be draining. People came to me, with problems or requests as they knew I would say yes. I would take on workload above and beyond and loved doing it as really enjoyed helping others. Stopping the Yes is an extremely hard change to make as it is about changing people’s expectations of you, as well as of yourself. It is about realising you can say no (when it is not high priority for you) with a smile on your face, without apology and even offer solutions or alternatives. It is about managing your own expectations and other expectations.
Whilst I still thrive on helping people, I have also realised the need to set boundaries and now understand that to be able to give the best I can to others, I also need to look after myself. This does mean saying no occasionally, and it does mean pointing people in other directions. But this means for myself, personally, I can focus on what is important and do those things well!
Working in a ‘service’ profession can be draining – taking on other people’s requests, expectations and making them the sole focus of your day. So, when it comes time to thinking about yourself, your aspirations, goals and what you want, it is infinitely harder. Putting yourself at the centre, and yourself as the focus can be tricky, but below is a great five-minute activity that might help you get on track!
Create your own, simple, self-care plan:
Write down the following headings:
Under each heading write what you are doing right now for yourself in these areas.
- In a different coloured pen write one thing under each heading you could do and would enjoy doing for yourself.
- Pick two of these to implement immediately – NO EXCUSES!
Some ideas to get you going could be:
Self: Get at least 8 hours sleep a night, plan your favourite dinner to cook
Work/professional: Get off your chair and walk around every 15 minutes, join a peer group
Environment: De-clutter your desk, wardrobe, or bedroom once a week
Relationships: Have a regular date night with your partner, call a good friend you have not spoken to in a while
Technology: Don’t check emails at night, no devices in bedroom
Give yourself the willpower to shut down and shut off! And remember, you don’t have to say Yes to everybody.
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About Nia Lloyd
Graduate Diploma in Career Development
Certificate IV in Human Resources
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management
Nia is an experienced career practitioner who is passionate about helping people find their ‘true fit’, move through a career transition. re-entering the workforce or even if they just need someone to talk to.
For over 15 years Nia has worked in Human Resources, Recruitment and Career Counselling, bringing together a wealth of experience from a diverse number of industries to help people with their careers.
Nia is a Professional Member of the Career Development Association of Australia.