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A Coordinator's Guide to Self-Care

Posted by Apartment Life on Mar 7, 2024 8:57:00 AM
Apartment Life
Caring for others is an awesome privilege. But it's also a responsibility that requires us to practice self-care so that we can serve others from a healthy place.
As a former Apartment Life Coordinator, I can relate to the challenge of juggling the needs of an apartment community program while maintaining a healthy personal life. One year into our program, my husband and I hit a season where we felt like we were moving 100 mph. We were fully engaged in building relationships with our neighbors, inviting others into our home for dinner, caring for our onsite staff, welcoming new residents, and hosting our monthly events (in addition to our full-time jobs.) We loved every second of it, but we were also exhausted. 
I stopped one day to take inventory of how we were doing and realized that our apartment was a mess, we hadn't enjoyed a slow dinner together in recent memory, neither of us had worked out in weeks, and we hadn't made time for many of our closest friends in quite a while. No wonder we felt like our tanks were empty. It was time for a pause. Before we could keep pouring out, we needed to take care of ourselves and our household. 
As we establish healthy rhythms for our personal lives, not only do we prevent burnout, but we also equip ourselves to better care for others. It's impossible to pour from an empty cup. But a cup that is overflowing naturally spills over onto everyone and everything around it.
Here are a few ways you can practice self-care while you care for others: 
francischarlotte-21. Tune in to your health and personal wellness. In my own story, I had an "aha" moment when I stopped to take inventory of my personal life and realized there were several red flags that we were over-extended. Pause, take a deep breath, and consider this inventory as a way of tuning in with yourself: 
- How does your body feel?
- Are you well-rested, exhausted, or somewhere in between?
- Do you feel mentally clear or foggy and overstimulated?
- Are you taking time to stop for meals and eat well or frequently skipping meals/eating on the go? 
- Does your daily schedule allow for a few breaks, or do you usually run from dawn to dusk? 
Take note of the red flags that are telling you it's time to slow down, and then address those areas before taking on any new responsibilities or demands. 

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2. Pursue life-giving hobbies/activities. What things do you naturally enjoy doing? What brings you energy or just makes life feel more fun? Maybe you function best when you have a creative outlet, or perhaps staying active helps you feel like yourself. You might love to read, garden, or play music. Whatever fills your cup, make sure to protect that activity as a priority in your schedule and weekly rhythms.
If possible, invite a neighbor or friend to join you. Maybe playing tennis is a great way to stay active and spend time with a neighbor. Maybe you're an avid football fan and can invite others to hang out and watch a game with you. If you can, use whatever gives you life as a way to also connect with others. Make time for the things that help you tap into your passions and interests - no matter how busy you may be or how full your plate may feel. 
3. Over-communicate your availability (and lack of availability.)  Let your community manager and staff know when you're typically available to discuss or collaborate on community matters so they can know when to best reach you. In the same way that you strive to honor their time by communicating with them in the method they prefer (texting, e-mail, or in person) and during their work hours, give them an idea of your daily/weekly schedule in advance. Let them know ahead of time when you're heading out of town or going on vacation, and when you'll be back and available to talk about community plans. By keeping your property staff looped in with your schedule, you'll set clear expectations around communication and free yourself up to be fully engaged and focused on community matters when you're "on." 
artisanvillageatc5. Guard your downtime. Block off daily/weekly time dedicated to rest, recharging, and spending focused time with family and loved ones. In the digital age, it can be hard to truly shut down when we're able to receive texts 24/7 and check social media by the minute. A late-night text from a resident can trigger a feeling of urgency and make us feel like a response needs to happen right away. But true downtime, free of distractions and interruptions, is something we all need to be able to operate at our highest capacity.  When we allow ourselves to take mental and physical breaks, we can respond from a healthy place. 
6. Ask for help. At Apartment Life, we ask all of our coordinators to establish a support team at the very start of their program. We all need a network of people in our lives who care about us and are invested in our lives. We all have moments where we need some help, and that's okay! We weren't meant to do life alone. Take stock of your personal circle of supportive friends and know when to reach out and ask for help. The great news is that when we keep ourselves healthy, we are also more available to jump in and help our friends and neighbors when they need us. It's a reciprocal give and take! 
The need for self-care is ongoing - not simply a one-time fix. Have you found other helpful ways to practice self-care regularly while serving in your role as an Apartment Life Coordinator? We want to hear from you. Drop us a comment below!

Topics: apartment industry, resident care, neighbors, staff retention, personal wellness

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