A day at the spa. A weekend retreat to an exclusive resort. A home cleaning service to take on some of the regular chores for a while.
These are some of the more typical ways we might visualize the idea of “self care,” but they may be too limited— and for sales people, they might not be realistic.
As much as we might like to think of self-care as being pampered or spoiling ourselves, that’s not what it’s really about. Self-care is an ongoing practice of recognizing the state of your health and being proactive in addressing any problem areas.
One of the reasons we might associate self-care with luxury living is that it once seemed to be a perk reserved for only the most senior executives. After all, given the responsibilities they carry and the pressures put upon them, it’s only natural that CEOs would need to be particularly mindful of their mental and physical health.
Today, though, salespeople are responsible for executing on some of the most important planks in any CEO’s growth strategy. This doesn’t just include revenue, though that’s obviously important.
Sales reps are also the people who play a key role in establishing and nurturing customer relationships. The way they sell will be a moment in the journey that many customers remember, and sets the stage for further growth opportunities down the line. It’s not something any business can afford to mess up.
That means salespeople — who have always had a stressful job, with ambitious goals to reach — may be pushing themselves more than ever before.
There’s nothing wrong with being driven, but everyone has their breaking point. You can only spend so many hours on the job, or thinking about the job, before performance suffers.
In an ideal situation, a sales manager picks up on signals that indicate a rep needs to take care of themselves. With more of us working from home, however, salespeople may need to take more responsibility for their self-care, too.
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. It’s about paying attention to yourself. You can approach it in any number of ways:
Those last deals you closed might seem like a lifetime ago, even if they happened earlier in the week. That’s because salespeople are often laser-focused on hitting a specific number for the entire month, quarter or the year.
And yet, failure to celebrate the milestones on the way may make it harder to feel a sense of progress or accomplishment. You get so tired looking at the next to-do item to check off the list that you forget about the ones you’ve done.
Throw yourself a little victory party, even if it’s just in your own head. Look back on the deals you’ve closed and seek a feeling of thankfulness for having the abilities to be successful in one of the toughest jobs in the world.
Don’t just make this a superficial exercise, but reflect on specific steps or good habits you’ve practiced that have made the difference. It will make you want to do more of the same.
Selling is competitive, but you can still have positive relationships with your coworkers. Support them with encouragement and advice whenever possible, or just show an interest in their lives outside of work. They’ll likely reciprocate, which can mean a lot when you need to feel a sense of community.
Your squad can also be people outside of your professional circles, whether it’s friendships that date back to high school or more recent acquaintances.
How you “huddle” is up to you. Maybe it’s as simple as sharing a funny meme that you’ve seen in your social media feed, or setting up an ongoing group text that extends the traditional water cooler conversation.
Although you’re engaging with customers in conversation, you’ll need to have other social interactions that aren’t oriented around closing a deal. Make this something you carve into your schedule at least a few times a week.
Make where you work someplace you want to be
A dirty desk is not uncommon when you have a lot on the go. There may get to be a point, though, where there is an excess of paper lying around, random items piling up in corners or one layer of dust too many.
If you're working from home, it becomes easier than ever to fall into this trap. Much like keeping ourselves clean and presentable for the sake of clients and coworkers, though, a well-kept space can do wonders for your mind and emotions.
Don’t just tidy up, but enhance the space. Perhaps it’s time to add a new photo of a family or friend, or a memento from your last vacation. Even a screen saver with some art could provide you inspiration and a sense of uplift.
Pausing your cold calls to check up on your email is not taking a break. Watching a webinar replay after finishing up a pitch is not taking a break. A break is doing something unrelated to your productivity that replenishes you.
Drinking coffee or tea are old standbys, but there are other options. A few minutes of meditation, where you just sit and listen to your breath, can be surprisingly restorative. So could writing in a journal, where you express your thoughts without editing them or judging yourself.
Walking is another of the best practices when it comes to taking a real break. Even though salespeople can often be on the go, we live much more sedentary lives than our ancestors. Going for a purpose-free stroll can let us see the world in a new way, exercising gently and often triggers great ideas we didn’t know we had.
Probably the most important way to practice self-care at work is to realize when you haven’t been doing it. Bookmark this post and come back to it periodically. If you haven’t recently done one of the ideas listed here, or something similar, it’s probably time you did.