Workplace Struggles: Part 1

Thursday, May 14, 2015

After reflecting on my new job, my level of happiness and the struggle I overcame at my last job I have decided to start writing about careers. I’ll post about a different topic each day or every other day. Today I wanted to start out writing about unhappiness at work and how to overcome it.

Maybe it’s my generation, but the feeling of having to be somewhere for 40+ hours a day when you absolutely hate it seems like a waste of talent and life. Now, there are temporary situations when work is tough, stressful, under resourced etc.  These are situations where you see the end in sight, where you are working toward a goal with an end result. Fully knowing the situation will change and for the better. If you know that you won't lose your sanity for that duration; I believe like it's best to stick with it and power through it. I feel this shows dedication, loyalty and a great worker.
Here are some ways in which I have found helpful to survive stressful work periods.
First, I evaluate the situation. See how long this stressful period might be, for those accountants out there that stressful period is usually January through May 15th. Five months of long nights, unreasonable requests from your superiors, lunches at your desk, not seeing the sun all day etc. I suggest you make a calendar and start planning out your Sundays for "me days". Start with easy Sunday activities and ramp up the "treats" as you get closer to your end date.
The most important key to surviving stressful times at work is exercising. You may feel at times that you don't need or have time to exercise but eventually it'll get to you. You'll become more stressed, more irritable, lack energy and focus. I highly suggest talking to your boss and letting her/him know that everyday between 12 and 12:30 you'll be on a walk. This will help you maintain focus and dedication at work. It will help break up the day and get your blood flowing. Convince a co-worker to tag along too, or download a book on Audible. Your work will still be there when you get back.
Don't make excuses that you don't have time, people will judge you etc. You and others will see the change in your productivity and will seriously help you keep your sanity. I also recommend working out in the am before work, or after work. Is it too late or too early to go to the gym? Youtube just became your best friend. Youtube has amazing workouts that you can do right from the comfort of your home. I personally love Tone It Up, Blogilates, and yoga videos.
The first two Sundays you spend your whole day doing outside activities. BYOB (Bring your own Brunch) to a park with friends, exploring a new hike, trying a new workout class (hello Classpass!), going on an Urban Hike with stops at random bars, reading outside etc. Get up and don't stay inside. While it is tempting to spend your Sunday being lazy on the couch, this will eventually make you feel like you're always inside. Plus the majority of your job is probably spent staring at a computer! This will help keep your sanity since some of you don't see daylight during the day.
Next, I would suggest booking a mini spa day for your next milestone. Get your nails done, get a massage (Massage Envy is inexpensive and worth the money, also Reflexology places are cheap and get the job done too), book a facial etc. 
Start planning and booking events that will give you things to look forward to.
Here are some ideas that have benefitted me, and activities I've loved.
  • Day trip to a new city
  • Dinner Party w/ friends (potluck style or takeout aka barely any cooking or clean up)
  • Wine Tasting (or create your own)
  • Be a tourist for the day
  • Run a 5k
  • Take a cooking class
  • Visit open houses
  • DIY Project (finally use that Pinterest board)
  • Plant and Garden
  • Go Kayaking or a new outdoor sport
  • Plan a weekend away (VBRO, AirBNB, HomeAway)
  • Go to a local book store and pick out a book (without recommendations)
  • Volunteer
  • Anything without your work phone!

What fun activities do you like to help you escape from work? How do you manage your work stress?

Next I'll talk about more ways to find happiness at work, how to create a positive workplace environment and when it's time to start looking for a new job.


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