Championing Self-care in a Virtual Environment

A woman sitting at home and talking to her colleagues in a meeting using her laptop computer.

As a leader at Independence Blue Cross (Independence), I like to model good self-care. Not only is self-care important to me personally, but I want to make sure my team members are taking care of themselves as well.

When working at home, we are connected to work all the time. To balance this out, I encourage my team to stay healthy both mentally and physically. Never underestimate the importance of exercise, hobbies, or time with family and friends. You need these things to recharge and reset your mind. Self-care while working remotely looks different for everyone. For me, recharging means staying active through regular exercise and spending time with my family. We love to golf, go mountain biking, and fishing.

Adding Self-care to Your To-do List

It can feel difficult to disconnect and prioritize self-care when you’re connected to work 24/7, however, don’t underestimate small moments of self-care. For example, taking a walk during a lunch break can go a long way. Evenings and weekends are a great time to meet up with friends or exercise. Even better? Combine exercise and time with friends by going for a hike or a bike ride with a friend.

Another way to prioritize self-care is by taking a stress management or mindfulness class. We are all dealing with the pandemic, social unrest, and political news, in addition to whatever is going on in our personal lives. Every individual is impacted in different ways. But each person’s response is valid, and as managers, we need to support these conversations. That’s why personal touch points are more important than ever these days!

Connecting through Activities and Informal Chats

Even though we’re all physically separated, I’ve found ways to keep the team connected. For example, as a team, we’ve participated in some volunteer events together through the Blue Crew.

Another great way to connect is by meeting with everyone on the team in small group settings. About 10 to 15 employees meet to talk informally about what’s going on and what their concerns are. These small, informal chats are a great way to connect. It’s a good way to have a dialogue with my team to find out what’s on their minds.

The Challenge of Disconnecting

When working at home, the challenge to disconnect is very real. When we worked in the office, you could leave work and go home, and the change in environment signaled your brain to shift gears. Now, our offices are in our homes. So, the work is always there — front and center. It becomes more difficult to disconnect.

In the past, if your commute was 30 minutes, you had 30 minutes to unwind and decompress — whether that was listening to music or a podcast in the car, biking home, or reading on the train. Now, in many cases, those 30 minutes have been absorbed into your workday, meaning you stay online 30 minutes longer when you could be using that time for exercise, meditation, or reading a book. The lines have become blurred. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize self-care when working remotely.

A Good Reminder

I find that talking about self-care is also a good reminder for myself! It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of “tomorrow,” meaning, “I’m not going to get a chance to work out today. I’ll just do it tomorrow.” We all get out of a rhythm from time to time. We all have numerous responsibilities pulling us in every direction. So, we all need the reminder that no one can tackle work, family commitments, helping our team, etc. until we first take care of ourselves. You can’t help anyone if you’re not in the right mind space.

Brian Brick

About Brian Brick

A proven service operations leader with more than 20 years of global experience in building and leading high performing organizations. Led multiple operations functions, setting strategy and balancing customer service experience with a need to achieve cost competitiveness through a focus on business process redesign, technology automation and establishing strategic vendor relationships. Initial background in Finance and Accounting has provided Brian with a unique understanding of Health Insurers P&L and the critical imperative of improving the health and well-being of the membership population.

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