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December 22, 2020

Performing while caring for yourself amid COVID pandemic

Self-care has always been an integral part of professional life. It’s what helps establish a healthy balance between work and personal time, and it’s what keeps us at the top of our game. But for many, especially those within the health care industry, the pandemic has forced self-care to take a backseat to performance.

Earlier this year, Harvard Health Publishing connected with physician, medical director and healthy lifestyle advocate Ben Crocker to get his take on the issue. "Social distancing and the loss of work and/or routine are tremendous pressures, both physically and psychologically," Crocker told HHP. "At the same time, our society tends to specifically reward heroic efforts that show that we can continue to perform at the same level, all while keeping a brave face."

While this trend is particularly common among physicians, it can put a lot of pressure on those recruiting them. When prospects are so intently focused, attentive and driven, there’s an expectation the recruiter will maintain the same pace, regardless of how they’re feeling.

On a realistic level, what does caring for yourself while working look like for the average recruiter? With COVID now thrown into the mix, how can you give yourself the room you need to stay physically and mentally sharp while still recruiting top talent?

Take a mental inventory

Take a mental inventory when working on self care.

Some individuals naturally have the mental bandwidth to manage home life, personal life, professional pursuits and the new reality COVID has invited into our lives all at once. Others find themselves spread too thin and unsure of what to prioritize, which can leave them feeling unsatisfied, exhausted and sometimes just downright frazzled.

Dr. Crocker has a valid point. It’s become common to trudge forward regardless of what seems doable. However, Dr. Crocker urges individuals across all professions to do a few things. First check in with yourself. How are you really doing?

Recognize the transition

After self-reflection, Dr. Crocker says to acknowledge "the way things were" to stay grounded. Embracing changes brought on by the pandemic may be easier said than done, but it can help gain some perspective. What consequences of COVID seem limited to you and your specific recruitment strategies, and which have become common denominators for all recruiters?

You’ve probably shifted into virtual networking tactics, including events, interviews and site visits. While these changes may be directly impacting your ability to recruit, keep in mind how they might be universal. In an odd way, it creates an even playing field for you and your competitors. Candidates are also dealing with the same transition, so now is a great time to recognize that and offer them resources about navigating the virtual job-search process.

Check out

Know when to turn off your brain from work and make time for yourself.

The last solution Dr. Crocker suggests is granting yourself permission to check out when needed. This can be difficult when we’re up against greater challenges, which often result in longer to-do lists. However, just as you encourage a healthy work/life balance for your physicians and APPs, you want to give yourself adequate time to take off your recruiter hat and decompress.

Set a schedule and keep it. Avoid working outside the specific time frame you’ve set and coordinate other activities or hobbies that might give you a temporary distraction. If you still have trouble tearing yourself away, plan something with a friend or family member that will require you to wrap up recruitment tasks for the day. These fun "obligations" will make your time off easier to define and put you in a position where working overtime is unlikely because it clashes with a personal commitment.

Creating this healthy divide will allow you to organize your obstacles and objectives so you can decide where you need to improve and where you can give yourself a break.

Give your body the attention it needs

Have you been feeling any unusual aches and pains lately - especially since the onset of COVID? It’s widely understood what former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jerry Augustine put best: "The body manifests what the mind harbors."

Right now, there’s a lot of talk about the fragility of our health. This goes hand-in-hand with anxiety about catching COVID, the risk of exposure or the possibility of exposing family and loved ones. For a recruiter who is heavily emersed in the medical world, this challenge is likely even more present.

The first way to ward off physical repercussions is to make yourself aware of your mental well-being - similar to the mental inventory previously mentioned. A complement to being aware is focusing on physical wellness. Eating well and getting enough sleep and exercise are key regardless of whether you’re remote or recruiting in-person.

Exercise also offers other benefits that may not be as widely known and may lend themselves to talent acquisition practices. For instance, the University of British Columbia found physical activity increases the size of the hippocampus, the brain structure responsible for storing memories. So not only does it improve your health, mood, energy and focus, but exercising can also enhance one of the most important skills used when networking: memory.

Find community

Find community and support so you have it when needed.

Recruiters spend a lot of time expanding their networks to a wider range of candidates, but linking up with other recruiters is also beneficial, and often underestimated. Surrounding yourself with individuals who share your experiences and challenges can offer support, relatability and understanding. It can also help you discover new strategies from recruiters with similar objectives.

Join online forums or groups to share ideas, obstacles and strategies with fellow recruiters. Focusing on these other connections offers more ways to expand your candidate pipeline and might even lead you to a future hire.


For more tips about how you can recruit amid COVID and other resources, contact

Read PracticeLink articles by Alexandra Cappetta

Alexandra Cappetta

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