Elaine Higgins is the Chief People Officer at POWWR, a company creating solutions for a sustainable energy marketplace.
What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care for me is the ability to reset your thought pattern and to recharge. Any given day in a HR role at any level can be a challenge and emotionally draining. This is particularly so in a generalist role when you are the point person in the organisation for a variety of people related issues.
I have often heard people state that in order to effectively care for others, self-care has to come first. That point was carefully stated when I was studying to be a Mental Health First Aider and I do believe that quiet, reflective time is central to achieving an overall sense of wellbeing.
How do you know when you’re feeling stressed or burnt out?
I don’t think I have quite hit a burn out level yet. I have felt a sense of overwhelm and stress but not quite burn out. Generally, I take a step back when I get stressed as I need time to process the situation I am dealing with and organize the facts. I do have a tendency to overthink things but once I have established and got to grips with a plan or have identified the required outcome, I can usually recover fairly quickly.
My ethos has always been to try to provide as much support to the team as is feasibly possible and reasonable from an employment perspective. This throws up various challenges when trying to ensure the balance between looking after people and preventing a toxic feeling of entitlement.
Do you have a regular self-care routine? If so, what does it look like?
I wouldn’t necessarily call this a routine. I have 25 days PTO every year and I book one week per quarter with supporting odd days. I avoid long vacations as I don’t like the feeling of work building up but I do love to travel. I plan an adventure every few months to escape the norm and recharge. I have been very lucky this year and managed Reykjavik, New York and Dublin.
On a more routine basis, I cook every night and make sure I eat dinner with my kids. We have a golden rule to always talk about the best and worst thing that happened in our day. We have no phones at the table, we just take turns speaking. I find that incredibly important.
On a less frequent basis, I also love a spa treatment day!
What bumps you off your self-care routine and how do you get back on course?
Like most people, the demands of balancing your work and your personal life can be tough to facilitate daily. For me, time out and travelling is really important so I plan that time in January and make sure it doesn’t get cancelled.
Where do you go for inspiration, ideas or tools for self-care?
Conde Nast Traveller on Instagram is a key site for me. It helps me to remember how big the world is, how many places there are to see and then I focus on getting my job done to enable me to get there.
Before you go…
Self-Care is a content series exploring the different self-care routines and habits of people from all walks of life. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to talk about your self-care routine.