I had a few moments during my last vacation where I found myself thinking, I’m so excited to get home so I can get back to work. Normally, I still work during “vacations” but this one had me totally disconnected from internet access.
And each time after I found myself having this wishful thoughts about being back home, sitting, working away, I would stop myself and fully appreciate the gratitude I felt for being so excited by “work”.
I mean, how incredible is it that while on vacation the thought of getting back to work excites me so much. It has the same feeling as the anticipation for going on a big trip.
This sensation has been years in the making, and that’s something I want to talk about today. Because even if you have a job that you aren’t totally in love with, yet aren’t quite in the position of quitting just yet, I guarantee there is at least one or two aspects of it that you can look at and say, yeah that right there, I’m grateful for that part of my job.
For some people this is benefits, or maybe the consistent structure of 9 - 5, or even for others the flexibility to stay home with a sick child if need be. While the mundanity of day to day tasks can cause us to slip into a fog of, "bleh this sucks" I challenge you to once a day pull yourself out of this, stop for a moment and find one thing to be thankful for.
We’ve all had jobs that we didn’t enjoy or detested all together, and just going to work gave us that pit of anxiety in our chest and stomachs. But we’ve also had jobs that we’ve loved, and still found ourselves in moments of “I really don’t want to do this today.”
Even now, in the midst of something I could only dream about for many years I find myself every now and then unmotivated to do the tasks set out for myself, by myself, for the day ahead.
But I have gotten really good at recognizing these moments almost as soon as they happen. And I quickly stop myself from whatever it is I’m doing, and place myself smack in the reality of it. Why am I feeling these negative feelings in that moment, and what can I do to change my attitude about the situation. And often just the act of stopping and thinking is enough to realize, “Hey, this whole set up you’ve got going for yourself right here is pretty freaking amazing.”
But sometimes I will recognize a reoccurring feeling that arises from these moments of thought. Recently there was a lot of feeling lonely. And guess what? I have complete control of that. What could I do, what could I add to change that feeling. And the answer was simple — social interaction. This is a common complaint of those working from home. While we love the freedom and flexibility of it, we often crave having someone around to talk to, whether that’s to bounce our ideas off of or to sit and have a conversation about something totally unrelated.
So, I’ve made it a point to schedule weekly coffee dates, “co-worker” days with two of my friends who also work from home, as well as to plan a girls night every other week or so. Another easy way I’ve found to relieve some of this feeling of being lonely is to simple head out to a coffee shop to work for a few hours. The sensation you get from being around people, having a chat with the person who takes your order or makes your coffee, and the probability to see a friendly familiar face is enough to make the $5 cup of coffee worth it to me every now and then.
I think the biggest lesson I want you to take away from reading this is that if you are unhappy in a situation don’t just sit there and continue on with it. Take the time to step away and really ask yourself what it is that you are lacking? What do you need? And at the same time asking yourself to find something positive, even in the midst of feeling so crummy about the day.
This can seem like a steep task when you find yourself in the same routine day after day, doing the same things day after day.
I actually find that there are certain aspects of a daily routine I crave, and will find myself missing if I don’t make time for them.
The biggest being my morning journaling routine. I always feel a little off kilter if I don’t have time in the morning do sit down and write.
I also feel a positive impact when I make time for an afternoon break (usually around 2 p.m.) for a bit of yoga, stretching and meditation.
So, first identify those elements of day to day life that you enjoy. It’s as simple as a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper or a early morning workout routine. Whatever it may be, get clear on what it is you want to keep.
Next, look at maybe something you could eliminate from your routine that doesn’t really bring you any added benefit or joy.
And then you can look at what elements you want to add to your day. What is something you can start doing that will brighten your day. For me it was more time with those I love and enjoy spending time with. For you it might be a 20 minute walk in the park, or taking the time to read a good book for an hour in the afternoon.
Can you apply this same frame of thinking to your responsibilities at work. Yes, there’s probably certain daily tasks that you can’t get out of, but maybe there are some that you can, and maybe there’s others that you can add.
Ask for more responsibility, propose a new project, whatever it may be.
And don’t forget to find the happy bits each day. What aspect of your job are you grateful for today?