Prioritizing Health and Happiness at Work

We put so much time into our working lives: we get up early, we commute (or we have to close ourselves off from distractions during working hours if we work remotely), and we bring home stress from the 40 hours each week we spend earning our paychecks.

Unfortunately, the stress we bring home from work can really hurt our personal lives. We’re distracted; maybe work stress is keeping us from sleeping well and draining our energy for the people and things that matter most. 

This is, of course, where the concept of work-life balance comes into the conversation, but let’s consider this from a slightly different perspective: What can you do at work to help stay happy and healthy there, allowing you to be even more engaged and present (and happy and healthy!) at home?

Here are some tips.

  1. Keep your workspace organized in a way that suits your needs. Some people can’t stand clutter, while others cannot cope with a spotless desk. Instead of going to one extreme or the other, if neither suits you, keep your workspace organized in a way that best works for you. If you can easily find files, documents, the phone, important notes, and other things you need to do your job, you’re in great shape! It’s very easy for the busyness of the day or week to take over and for things to get messy as a result, but taking a few minutes each day, or once a week, to reset can make a big difference in decreasing your stress and increasing your productivity, all while keeping your brain happier. 
  2. Socialize. If there’s one lesson many of us learned during COVID, it’s that we’re social creatures by default. Not everyone needs to be in the middle of a large group of people all the time or likes being the center of attention, but talking to other people can help decrease stress, improve your mood, and boost creativity. Whether you’re grabbing coffee with a colleague or sharing lunch with a new hire, take a little time out of every day to talk with other people and socialize with them. You’ll all get to know each other better, and that can help make work feel a little more supportive and friendly.
  3. Create goals and work toward them. Having something specific you’re working to accomplish can make a huge difference in how you feel about going to work. Goals can be large or small; it can be as simple as writing a to-do list each morning for the day’s priorities and getting the satisfaction of crossing items off the list as you go, or as long-term and complicated as tackling a big, multi-faceted project. Goals keep us focused and, for some people, motivated to stay on task to achieve something. You’ll feel more productive, and that can help improve your outlook!
  4. Eat foods that fuel your body. The lure of the vending machine, the temptation of the cookie tray, the allure of foods that are tasty but not the most healthful—we’ve all been there. Treats are great! On occasion. But if you want to feel better, physically and mentally, while at work (where you might be seated most of the time), you need to give yourself some healthy fuel. Carrots and hummus count, as do celery with peanut butter, or a salad with a great dressing and lots of fruit or nuts. Make sure you’re eating something for breakfast—even a slice of toast with some protein—to start your day off energized and to give your body something to use to power through the day. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too! These are kind of basic things to do, but they really do make a big difference in whether you feel drained or ready to continue your day when the workday is over. 
  5. Get plenty of sleep and take breaks. Your mind is a muscle. It needs to be worked out, and then it needs to rest and recover. This means you need to get good sleep, which can be done by decreasing stress and screen time as the evening goes on. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, try drinking a cup of hot herbal tea, like chamomile, before bed or doing some breathing or meditation exercises to calm your mind. If you find your stress levels skyrocketing at work, do the same! Step away from your workspace and get some fresh air. Take a walk outside for a few minutes. Close your eyes and daydream or focus on something positive happening in your life. Take your full lunch break, away from your workspace, and really enjoy the food you’re eating. Stare out a window. Your brain will thank you for it, and you’ll find yourself better able to concentrate on whatever task is at hand.

If we’re happier and less stressed at work, if we’re better able to manage our responsibilities during our working hours, we can get better at leaving work at work, allowing us to be fully present with our family and friends. We’ll have more energy and interest in contributing to the (non-work) world around us. We’ll have more time and energy for the people that really matter. And isn’t that what life is really all about?

After some time passes, if these tips aren’t helping and you’re feeling more stressed or unhappy at work, it might be time to make a change. SmartTalent can help! Take a look at the jobs we’re currently hiring for and see what strikes your interest. Then give us a call! We’ll explain what our client is looking for and can even help you apply. Let SmartTalent help ease your stress and speed your way to a great new job!

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