Taking Care of Yourself
For the most part, you can be sure your customer service co-workers are going to be concerned with how well you perform your assigned duties. Apart from professional collegiality, your personal well-being is going to be outside their realm of responsibility—especially since they will be rightfully concerned with their own well-being. Your supervisor and teammates may help you to the extent that ensures you perform your job well, but much of the obligation for your own care and personal development is going to fall on you.
The act of self-care does not mean spoiling and pampering yourself or indulging yourself in decadent luxuries. In fact, to ensure the best self-care, you may have to be your own harshest taskmaster. This means forcing yourself to do things you might prefer to avoid, motivating yourself to work on personal growth, and sometimes just saying “no” to things that might hinder your self-development.
Self-Care on the Job
Your supervisors will be responsible for your workload management. Proper workload assignments should consider not only what is good for the worker, but ultimately what is also best for overall worker productivity and the company as well. You can help by taking steps in your own interest on the job. Moreover, sometimes you may need to assert yourself to help ensure you get what is needed to ensure your peak productivity.
As covered earlier, one of the first necessary steps when dealing with demanding customer service challenges is to protect yourself with the proper mindset and attitude. Remember, just because a customer or coworker may be agitated or angry does not mean you need to absorb it or respond in kind. Negative emotions can have a harmful effect on your body’s immune system and can increase your chances of getting sick. You can be most effective as a customer service provider by maintaining an objective detachment, but by also remaining focused, alert, understanding, caring, unemotional, and—most of all—patient.
Both you and your supervisor need to ensure you take regular breaks. Studies show that without sufficient rest, worker productivity drops considerably with potentially high costs to the company. One study estimates that because workers do not get sufficient amounts of rest, it costs the U.S. national economy $63 billion per year in lost productivity.
Some workers have been found to increase their productivity substantially with just a 20-minute nap during the workday. Studies demonstrate that working in 90minute intervals with intervening rest periods maximizes productivity and overcomes worker fatigue. Some companies such as Google, Coca-Cola, and Green Mountain provide renewal rooms for their workers to relax, take naps, meditate, and eat healthy snacks. These companies in return benefit from higher levels of worker productivity and job satisfaction.
Self-Care After the Job
Your skillful ability to connect with customers is what makes you an effective and valuable employee. However, it is important to protect yourself from the draining influences of dealing with problems all day long and to make sure you do not take the issues home with you at the end of your shift. As you transit home when your workday is done, it might help to visualize leaving all your cares along the side of the road or track, tossing them out one-by-one: customer problems, conflicts with coworkers, frustrations, and unresolved issues. You can pick them up again as you head back to work if you wish—they will be waiting for you.
Once you get home, try to take an hour just for yourself to rest and replenish. Exercise with a walk or a visit to the gym. Read something light. Listen to your favorite music. Get a massage. Take a long bath. Watch your children play. Cuddle up with a pet. Whatever it takes to put your mind at rest, and restore calm.
Also, remember to keep your work in context—it is not just about the money you earn, but the enjoyment you get, and the contributions you are able to make to your family and loved ones. Life is certainly about much more than working and paying bills. Try to find other outlets for your talents and creativity. Volunteering for worthy projects can help you find greater personal satisfaction than you might find solely on the job site. Joining with community programs, churches, and service clubs may increase your social networking with others, as well as your sense of giving back to the larger world around you. It is invigorating and empowering to spread your goodwill and abilities beyond your own personal sphere.
Most important is to remember you cannot help others unless you are taking good care of yourself. Proper self-care can help ensure you are the best person you can be—on the job, at home, and in the greater community where you live.
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