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Working a 9-to-5 job, five days a week, all year round can take a toll on anyone – even with vacation and sick days. Liking your job may help alleviate the strain of work, but not everyone can be so lucky. Writer Jennie Lovan has tips on how to keep your zen when work gets toxic.
It’s likely that if you love your job, you’re not reading this article. It’s more likely that you may love what you do, but hate the environment you are in. You’re luckier than most, and this article is maybe for you.
There are some very unlucky folks who don’t like their job, who are working in a toxic work environment, whose complaints aren’t being heard, or worse – who are unable to quit due to high risk circumstances. If you are one of the unfortunate souls, then this article is definitely for you. I can’t help you get a new job, but I can offer advice that’ll help you hate the one you have a little less.
Make a frenemy
It is a lot more difficult to carry on in a toxic work environment alone. There is a good chance you may hate everyone you work with, but there has to be someone you hate the least. Make that person your ally. The likelihood of them being miserable too, is probably high. Having someone to complain and rant with will help you relieve stress.
Venting to someone at work is a lot more satisfying than venting to a family member, or a friend. A co-worker understands firsthand what you are going through. They know the awful work culture, the crappy people, and the unbearable hours. Plus, your work friendship may even blossom into a lifelong friendship.
Actually spend your break time on yourself
No, you can’t have drinks or spark a doob during your fifteen minutes of freedom, but breaks are still amazing. If your workplace is the worst and somehow make you work through your breaks, they can’t deny you using the washroom. Whether you have a declared break, or a quick washroom break, utilize it and DO NOT WORK THROUGH YOUR BREAK. Do not check emails while you’re on the can (’cause that’s crappy) or make work calls.
Make it your goal to make your break fun. Do something that makes you happy – text your friend (not about work), hop on social media, play a game, do a crossword, heck, go for a freaking walk. Use your breaks to mentally recharge because more likely than not, there’s more BS coming your way. And you need the mental fortitude.
Practice for an Oscar
Another thing you may have to deal with is a horrible boss or horrible coworkers – or some hellacious combination of the two. Perhaps you can’t quit because you need the job, which also means you don’t want to get fired. This also unfortunately mean you can’t tell your boss where s/he can stick things. For the sake of your livelihood, you need to work well with others as much as it pains you to do so. Instead of making it a painful experience, pretend you are trying to win an Oscar.
You can control what you physically surround yourself with…put up pictures and images of things that make you smile.
Pretend you are an employee who cares and likes everyone they work with. Challenge yourself to be as convincing as you can. Improv is a great exercise to keep the mind agile and help relieve the tedium. Who knows? you might even convince yourself the job ain’t half-bad.
Eat something awesome
Seriously. If you can’t change your work environment, change the way you lunch. Give yourself a reason to look forward to the noon hour.
Naturally, we find comfort in food. I’m not saying to eat your feelings away (okay, well maybe just a little), but we all look forward to lunchtime, right? It’s like the longest time you get away from your personal work prison. And hopefully you actually get to leave and not work thought it.
So amp up the lunch excitement by hyping up your lunch. Pack a lunch that you will no doubt look forward to. Most of us don’t have the time or talent to pack an extravagant lunch. And that’s okay. Hyping up your lunch can mean adding a wicked cookie, your favourite chocolate bar, an awesome smoothie or packing your favourite book – anything – to make your lunch better than the time you spend actually working.
Make your space a happy one
Besides your lunch, the other thing you can control is what to physically surround yourself with. In your desk, cubicle, locker – or whatever your space is – put up pictures of things that make you smile; things that motivate you (but for the love of baby Haysoos, don’t put up anything that will get you fired).
Cover every inch of your space with pictures of your pets, kids, quotes, favourite wine, shoes, Michael Fassbender…
Whenever your day starts to get the best of you, mentally check out for a few minutes and have a mini-escape. Look at your pics. Smile at your kids. Read your quote like a mantra. Mentally stroke Michael Fassbender’s sexy chest…
Hopefully your positive space not only cheers you up, but helps justify why you are there.
What are some of the ways you detox from your day-to-day? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments in the section below.