Work gets a bad wrap and we often think about it the wrong way. You know what I mean – answer this honestly, how many times did you make a comment about how long it was until the end of the day. This is pretty crazy considering the amount of time that we spend in our day job. We have a couple of options, if you hate your job that much perhaps it’s time to start the hunt for a new one. If it isn’t that bad, it’s time to quit that negative thinking, seriously it is really not fun to be around (sorry, truth hurts!). But. Not all is lost. You can turn it around and thrive in your 9-5 (see what I did there?). Here are 5 ways that you can make sure that you thrive not just survive at work.
1) It’s time to take a VA-CAAAAY!
It is so important that you take a REAL break from work. This is something that we often get wrong and more often feel guilty about. Have you ever worked whilst you have been on holiday? Taken a call, opened that inbox? Taking time to recharge and recuperate is critical for our wellbeing and success. Resist the urge to check in from the beach and know that things will be just fine without you.
Living a life where you work all the time and don’t prioritise taking the time for a break and recharging simply isn’t sustainable. You are not only doing yourself harm but your company!
2) Get those ZZZZZ’s
Skimping on your sleep time is the fastest way to stress, burnout and job dissatisfaction. The topic of zzzz’s is one that I am pretty passionate about – insomnia often plagues my darkest hours and man do I notice when I get it under control. It seems so simple, but is often elusive and it really doesn’t need to be. It does take some work and it is allllll about routine. Not that sexy but neither is operating on 2 hours of sleep! In fact, getting eight hours sleep each night is often one of the most quoted secrets of success of highly successful people, so there has got to be something about it!
The nasty: sleep deprivation can impair focus, learning, memory and decision-making, and over time can contribute to a whole host of physical and mental health problems. On the flip side, adequate rest can improve health outcomes, productivity and mood.
3) Build mindfulness into your an every day practice
Honestly. If there is no other wisdom that you take from me, let it by mindfulness. Make it your own by practising and trying on different techniques. You can research what the experts say or just try things out. Meditation can mean different things to different people. For some, a good, long run is the ticket. For others, walking in nature. Swimming a few laps can stop that whirling. Seriously, as little as 10 minutes each day of sitting still and cultivating a meditation practice can make a real difference.
Starting the day with a little mindfulness can also seriously boost your wellbeing and your brain power. For me personally, I know that journaling is what works for me. I previously was convinced that this sounded way to hippy, touchy, feely. I was willing to open my mind though, because to be honest – things weren’t that crash hot and I really needed to work out a way to reset my mind and work out what the hell was going on. I was pretty successful but a complete mess. Journaling helped me turn things around and on a scientific front has been linked with improved memory and focus, better emotional well-being, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity — all of which can contribute to a more dynamic work day. Who doesn’t want that!
4) Take it slow
For high achievers (you know who I am looking at), it’s so easy for life to start feeling like a never-ending cycle of work, family, life admin and other obligations. But to create a life of success and wellbeing, it’s super important, nay, imperative that we find a way to balance work with everything else that matters to us — family, friends, health and time for rest and reflection. Cutting down your schedule to the most essential activities and saying “no” to the rest is one place to start, while disengaging from digital distractions can also help you to better enjoy unoccupied time.
5) Pay it forward
Give back. Remove the ego and ask yourself not what can you get but what and where you can give. One of the simplest ways to improve your work life may be to find a way to improve the lives of others. There’s no question that giving is good for your body, mind and spirit — and, it can even boost productivity and fulfillment at work.
Stay with me, I know that it may sound counterintuitive, but giving your time to others — even when you feel stretched thin and stressed — can completely improve your mood and wellbeing, which in turn can help you make more effective use of your time. So figure out what feels the best to you. Do you want to volunteer your time? What about that colleague that you know is struggling. There are no limits here. Is there a client or customer that you can help out without the bonus?