Personal crises come in all shapes and sizes. There is even a well-established, and evidence-supported scale of stressful events called the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory.
Using a scoring system, the scale helps determine how the stressful events in your life might endanger your well-being.
It’s difficult to remain productive when faced with a personal crisis. But, in most cases, this is usually not an insurmountable issue, as you take some time off to heal and get back to work.
The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory does not include an ongoing global pandemic that produces a sustained crisis with its zeniths and nadirs, many of which feel extremely personal and disruptive.
In such a situation (and in other situations of sustained crisis), taking a step back and weathering the storm is not exactly possible. You have to make money. You have to do your job.
As a recruiter, how do you do it?
1. Accept the crisis
When a crisis lasts for a long time, or at least longer than you wished it did, it’s quite easy to adopt a mindset where you try to ignore it. You attempt to brush it off, tell yourself everything is alright, and try to soldier on. For a while, it might even work.
After a while, however, running from it will only cause harm. It will compound like debt and, sooner or later, you’ll be unable to run from it, and it will hit you hard.
You need to accept that you will have really bad days when you will be unable to pick yourself up and be your usual productive self. And that is alright. There’s a reason why we call them crises. You should never feel like you are worthless because of days or periods like that.
Once you’ve accepted the crisis, it becomes easier to deal with it and stay a productive recruiter.
2. Start with self-care
A sustained crisis can easily turn into a vicious cycle. The stress affects the way you take care of yourself, which, in turn, further raises your stress levels, and thus the process continues.
3. Get enough sleep
As part of what some experts refer to as an actual public health crisis, we already don’t get enough sleep as a society. In times of crisis, sleep is usually the first to suffer, compounding the issue even further.
Considering the severe negative effects that sleep deficiency can have on concentration, decision-making, and overall physical and mental health, getting enough sleep should be one of your self-care regimen priorities. Here are some key tips:
- Get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
- Set up a regular bedtime.
- Make sure your bedroom is set up for peaceful sleep, uninterrupted by light and noise.
- Don’t use your phone (or any other device) at least half an hour before bedtime.
- Consider sleep-promoting foods and drinks, as well as supplements.
- Talk to a doctor if nothing else works.
- Eating healthy and exercising
Eating habits often get neglected during a crisis, and we often reach out to unhealthy foods either out of convenience or a feeling of comfort. It can be difficult, but establishing healthy eating habits is an integral part of self-care.
The same goes for exercise, which can feel like the last thing you want to do during a crisis, but it can be done. It doesn’t have to be something strenuous. A brisk walk or a bicycle ride will do perfectly fine. Just make it regular and, if possible, outdoors.
4. Stay social
If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how difficult it is to have our social ties thinned to breaking point. And in a prolonged, sustained crisis, it’s easy to let go and sever those ties completely through inaction.
Staying in touch with your loved ones is especially important during sustained crises because they can be a support system when things get really bad. Also, it helps bring perspective to a situation that may seem hopeless to you.
Even talking to your colleagues and other acquaintances from the professional arena can be of enormous help, especially since many of them are in the same situation as you and probably feel the same pressures. Perhaps plan in a few virtual team building activities?
5. Seek professional help
While seeking professional help (from therapists, support groups, etc.) has lost much of its stigma, some people are still somewhat apprehensive about actually doing it.
There is no shame in acknowledging that you might need professional help. If you feel like it would help you, book that session.
6. Take time to relax
In your pursuit of productivity during a crisis, you may feel that you don’t have the time to relax or that you don’t deserve to relax. This is one of the most harmful things you can do to yourself. You need to give your brain and body a break. If it is the most pointless, mundane thing in the world, it doesn’t matter. It’s about unwinding and releasing some of the pressure.
These may seem unimportant when discussing productivity, but in reality, they are crucial. Without taking care of yourself, you can’t hope to be productive in the long run when faced with a crisis.
Relevant: How to prevent employee burnout
7. Find your productive self
There is really no reason to go through these because there is so much content like this online and because you will want to modify them during a sustained crisis.
Just as an example, you probably have some schedule that you’ve made for yourself over the years – finding candidates early in the workday, reaching out after lunch, doing a bit of reading towards the end of the day, for example.
You might find out that this kind of schedule doesn’t work for you and that you need to come up with something entirely different. That is entirely understandable. It’s much better to modify the way you do than try to force it.
Or, perhaps you’ve been a long-time proponent of tackling the most difficult tasks first and then going for smaller tasks once the big one’s been taken care of. You might find that this is impossible in a crisis. You’ll likely need a bit of easing in before you tackle the most difficult stuff.
Sometimes, you might feel that one aspect of your job is near impossible on those particularly bad days. Talk to your colleagues and managers. You will most likely find a sympathetic ear and be able to work out something where you still contribute. Perhaps you’ll feel better doing creative work, such as writing ads or outreach messages. Maybe you’ll find repetitive work relaxing.
The important thing is to acknowledge your situation and not force yourself to be the same recruiter before the crisis. There are more ways than one to be productive.
Relevant: How to improve employee productivity
A few disclaimers
Before we wrap this up, remember a few things. For one, it’s perfectly fine not to be productive here and there. We are talking about a serious crisis, which takes its toll over time, and there might be days when you have to take care of yourself. This is fine.
Also, keep in mind that things do get better with time. People adapt to all kinds of circumstances. We humans have a way of bending in the wind, finding ways to survive and even be productive in the direst of crises.
Just don’t try to ignore the crisis. Accept it. That’s the first step.