Working in tourism? Tired of being resilient? 8 great ways to regenerate yourself!

regenerative tourism
Working in tourism? Tired of being resilient? 8 great ways to regenerate yourself!

Resilience: the ability to effectively cope with and bounce back from stress, adversity and challenging situations


Is it ridiculous to talk about resilience?


In the past week, I have facilitated two leadership workshops which had a focus on ‘building resilience’. The very idea of a workshop for tourism leaders about building resilience got a wry giggle amongst one group!


“We’re still here, aren’t we? We’re still showing up and moving forward, aren’t we? We are still engaging our teams and groups to move with us! One thing we are definitely good at is resilience!!”


It’s true. Given the experiences of the last few years, tourism people who are still standing and still engaging are nothing if not resilient.


If not resilience, then what?


“If resilience is not the issue though, then what is?”, I asked.


The cacophony of answers can be boiled down to a few key points:

  • people are tired of being resilient
  • people are mentally and physically exhausted by the seemingly constant need to react/bounce back/pivot/bounce forward
  • people are drained by talk and feelings of fragility and vulnerability

The real issue is not resilience, but how flexing the resilience muscle really depletes ENERGY. Quite simply, it’s hard to summon the energy to be resilient when resilience is required all the time! The last few years flicked the turbo button on the already up-and-down and unpredictable tourism rollercoaster – and a rollercoaster it remains!


Active Self-Care as a Key Leadership Competency


With that awareness and with time to reflect and share in small groups, the conclusion from one workshop was that perhaps the single biggest act of leadership right now would be Active Self-care. Without it, our energy, focus and confidence is compromised and there is no foundation to build other leadership skills and competencies on.

Yet, many in the workshop admitted that ‘me’ and ‘self’ and ‘I’ are very far down their daily agenda. I know from my one-to-one work with private clients that this is commonly the case. With a great focus on doing and moving and delivering, those with passion and vision in the industry often neglect to tend to themselves with the same level of attention.

So a key leadership competency gap nowadays may well be ability to care for self in an intentional and strategic way.


As a leader, how can I be intentional and strategic about Self-Care?


This was the provocative question that we closed this workshop on. Based on what they had shared and the realisations that were coming as the discussions unfolded, various people highlighted the one or two things they knew would help them moving forward from the workshop.

Put together (see below), I find they offer a very useful checklist for people in tourism who may be in no doubt about their aptitude for resilience but may feel their appetite for summoning it is waning. If you’re concerned about your levels of mental and physical stamina as we continue to navigate transformational times, these ideas may help you.


Peer Wisdom on Practicing Active Self Care


1. Set your boundaries

One person eloquently said “the world’s appetite for our attention is endless”. Take responsibility for the fact that the only person who can put a limit on your time is you. There’s no point blaming others for stealing your time. It’s up to you to spend it wisely.


2. Say no more often

When you are passionate about what you do and want the best outcome for everybody, it can be very, very hard to say no – “there are endless opportunities and chances to get involved”. However, it’s imperative that you select the pieces of work that you can really commit to and then carry those out well, without overwhelming yourself. Remember, it’s ok to say no. In fact, it’s your responsibility to do so.


3. Pause intentionally between tasks

A useful technique for preserving energy throughout the day is to manage transitions – that time between two tasks or zones of activity. Basically, take 30 seconds to repeat the word ‘release’ to yourself in order to consciously let go of the energy of the task you’re moving on from. Then take another 30 seconds to set an intention for the next task. This avoids negative energy from one thing rolling over into the next thing. As one person said “don’t let the cloud follow you around”.


4. Stop moaning

“All moaning does is creates a cycle of negativity in your head which directly impacts your mood and energy. Not only that, it directly impacts those around you and limits the potential of a group or project. Especially at the start of meetings, take a pause to summon the positive! If I come across as negative and down, it trickles into the team as well. I need to consciously bring the positivity back again!” one person remarked.


5. Structure ‘me-time’ into the day.

“I know I must look after myself and yet there’s no time in the day allocated to me”. This came from a person who said the idea of having a structured lunch-time was ‘alien’ to them. They were inspired by another’s discipline of never compromising their lunch-hour as it was their sacred time once a day to pause and re-charge. Put yourself in the diary and don’t reschedule on you!


6. Temper your expectations

This related to expectations of others as well as expectations of what can be done in a day. Allow some capacity time, some spare bandwidth. We know by now to expect the unexpected so account for that in your planning and your dealings with others!


7. Take time to get outside

Even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes, take a quick walk or stretch. One person found that this allowed them to be more creative – “often it’s just the thing to release a mental block or to inspire a new idea.”


8. Anticipate Drainers

Drainers are things and people in our days that we know drain our energy or drag down our mood. If we know they’re there and we know the effect they have on us, maybe try to get out in front of them, anticipate them and prepare your response. Create an invisible mental barrier between you and them that allows you to preserve your energy.


There is no doubt that we are living through transformational times. Sustainability and regeneration are key themes. In order to sustain or regenerate other people, our businesses, or our places, we must first be intentional about sustaining and regenerating ourselves.


Tina O'Dwyer

Tina is a Certified High Performance Coach specialising in tourism. She has extensive experience in sustainable tourism, regenerative tourism, food tourism, networks, clusters and collaborations. If you’d like to know more about our leadership workshops and one-to-one coaching programmes, you can contact us at [email protected].

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