Open enrollment season has come to a close for many teams, and HR leaders can finally take a breather. If you’re still feeling pent-up stress after the holidays and open enrollment season, we’ve got some great self-care strategies for you.
Open Enrollment Season Stressors
Pressure from the top and the bottom, way too many benefits options to choose from, and replying to employee needs all make managing employee benefits one of the most stressful aspects of human resources.
As the job market becomes more competitive, benefits managers have even more pressure to deliver programs that will attract top talent. Just as open enrollment season 2021 is ending, HR already has to think about open enrollment in 2022!
Remember that you are not alone. 70% of HR leaders say that 2021 was one of the most challenging years in their entire careers. HR leaders face some everyday stressors, like:
- Being the messenger for bad news
- Managing expectations from above and below
- Improving the bottom line while managing a tight budget
- Mass amounts of tasks, questions, and concerns from employees and executives to respond to
- Putting others first and not taking time for self-care
- Increasing engagement in a remote or hybrid work environment
These stressors can compound over time and lead to burnout—a common phenomenon we see after open enrollment season ends. HR leaders like you need to take a breather and take care of themselves to help their company and employees succeed.
Don’t worry—we will show you how!
6 Self-Care Tips for HR Leaders After Open Enrollment Season
Here are 6 ways to take care of yourself once open enrollment season has ended.
Celebrating is good for our mental health. Celebrating even the small wins helps improve self-image, which helps us feel more motivated to take care of ourselves.
Here are some ways to celebrate:
- Ask one or more of your HR coworkers to get a celebratory lunch with you. Celebrating with others is a great way to build deeper connections and get that much-needed support.
- Take a day off. While it may seem counterintuitive, taking time away from work will help you get more work done when you are on the job.
- Write down your achievements and what you are grateful for. This will help you remember those milestones and things to be thankful for.
- Take a couple of hours to do something you enjoy. Maybe it’s taking a hike, creating art, cooking a nice meal, or going out to eat with your partner. Whatever it is, make sure it will help you recharge.
Remember that your accomplishments and struggles have helped you grow, which will help you know how to support your team better! Not only are you helping employees—you are supporting families. That is something to celebrate.
You can also spread the good vibes by giving one of your coworkers a shout-out for a job well done.
2. Choose to leave it behind
Mistakes are inevitable because you are human. Instead of ruminating on those mistakes, write down what you learned and do your best to let it all go.
Meditating and journaling are great ways to do this. Try setting aside 10 minutes today—5 to write down any mistakes and lessons learned, and 5 to meditate and absorb those lessons. Then let go of everything else.
Practicing meditation regularly can reduce stress and anxiety long-term, so it’s a great habit to add to your morning or evening routine.
3. Take time for yourself
If you’re a parent, this may mean waking up before your kids do to get some alone time in. It’s also okay to take some time during your lunch break (yes, you should take breaks during your workday!) to go for a walk around the block, do a quick workout, or call a friend or family member.
Figure out what helps you recharge and make it a habit to do those things. This will help you proactively take care of yourself before stress becomes too much to handle.
4. Find a support group
Don’t be afraid to talk about your struggles. It helps fight loneliness and will support you as you find strategies to manage your stress.
Our HR Support Group runs every month and includes about 4-10 HR leaders that are looking for strategies to reduce their stress, just like you. You can sign up for the waitlist here.
You can also meet with a therapist to talk about your stress and how to cope with it. They can provide you with personalized tools and advice to cope with your situation.
5. Let go of people-pleasing
People-pleasing always leads to discontentment.
There will always be unhappy people—especially during open enrollment. Remember that your employees are likely stressed during open enrollment season as well, which often coincides with the holidays. People’s complaints and frustrations may come from personal stress at home or work. It is most likely not directly tied to you.
Of course, it is good to have a solid understanding of your workforce and what they want and need. But, ultimately, you are not responsible for fixing other people’s problems.
6. Try a mental health program
Who knows—it may be great to roll out for your team, too!
You can use a trial version of Nivati or other mental health apps like Calm or BetterHelp to help manage your stress after open enrollment season.
The best mental health programs can help you find ways to support different aspects of your wellbeing, such as your sleep, finances, thought life, and more.
Preparing for the Next Open Enrollment Season
You can use these same tips above to prevent stress for the next open enrollment season.
Making self-care part of your routine will help you proactively prevent stress before it becomes too much to handle.
Here are some articles with more self-care and stress management tips:
- How to Prioritize Self-Care and Your Mental Health
- Stress Management in HR: Tips for HR Leaders
- Stress Management Tools and Techniques
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