When Empathy Runs Dry

I always know it is time for a vacation when I am talking to a client or user and there is this little ping in my brain saying I don’t want to deal with them.

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

So much of what a UXer does involves listening to and affirming people. We acknowledge their anger towards products. We celebrate with them when something works. We do everyone a disservice when we ignore them because they are less intelligent, less technical, or particularly challenging.

Here’s how I recharge my batteries to stay effective:

  1. Find a beach. A day by the lake/ocean has magical powers.
  2. Spend some time in the wilderness. Hiking and mountain biking put life back into perspective.
  3. Guided mindfulness. During particularly stressful days I retreat to the atrium and close my eyes for some meditation.
  4. Coffee, tea, smoothies. Hydrate up! Sometimes I become cranky when I’m neglecting things my body needs.