All of us need daily doses of each of these happiness chemicals, but how can we get them when we are working? Here are some tips:
- Finish a little task. Keeping track of the things from your to do list that have already been completed can be very powerful.
- Have coffee or tea with a colleague.
- Look for and celebrate small wins.
- Notice what people are doing right and give sincere compliments lavishly.
- Write compliments on sticky notes and leave them around the office.
- Write thank you notes when colleagues partner with you.
- Learn and practice 5-minute meditations. Here is a list of some of my favorites to help you get started: Quick Meditations. The magic code word is “meditation.”
- Take 3 deep breaths when you leave and enter every room.
- Spend time outside every day, even if it is only for a few minutes here and there.
- Practice a laughter exercise. When my cousin Pat, a certified coach, told me this exercise, I thought she was crazy, but it actually works!
- Exercise, stretch, or just take the long way to get wherever you are going.
- Take some essential oils into your office (as long as your colleagues find them pleasant — we all react differently to scents.)
Take time to do at least one of these every day!
Like everything else, there are many different opinions on just how much water you should be drinking. Health experts commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses each day, although some believe that you need to sip water constantly throughout the day, even when you’re not thirsty.
This week, I have an activity for you…
‘When You Drink the Water, Remember Who Dug the Well’ – Chinese Proverb
Of course, I am not literally asking you to research where your drinking water comes from. Instead, I would like you to recognize the elements and processes that allow you to enjoy that water (or coffee, or tea, or other favorite beverage!). From there, take some time to think about all those who have been a blessing in your life, whether in big ways or small.
Perhaps your parents, a special teacher, a mentor, colleagues, or friends have had a deep and meaningful impact on your life? What about the grocery store clerk, restaurant worker, or delivery driver? Did they bring a smile to your face or make your day run just a little more smoothly?
How can you let them know how much you appreciate their efforts? Maybe while their names are fresh on your mind, mail a card or send a text that puts actions to your thoughts.
Remember, you’re drinking from the well they dug!
As the pandemic has made all of us reflect and re-evaluate many aspects of our lives, I started to think more about our relationship to work.
On a recent trip to Asheville, NC, I saw many help wanted signs. The service industry is desperate for employees, but they are not alone. White collar workers are leaving their jobs in droves as well. HR Magazine from the Society of Human Resource Management had a cover article on what’s being called “the great resignation.”
With Labor Day just around the corner, I became curious about the origins of the holiday and I wondered how labor has changed. I did a quick search and read this excellent article:
It seems that the incredible toil that our forefathers, and foremothers, endured has been softened and lightened. Significantly shorter work hours, much improved working conditions, additional paid holidays, and more interesting work have all been the result of industrial, economic, and technological advances. The world of work has evolved for sure!
The results are a drastically better work life for almost all workers, across all industries. So why is there a “workplace tsunami”? And can we make work even more reasonable and rewarding? Mental burnout and fatigue is different from the fatigue that comes with manual labor, but it is real and needs to be addressed.
I encourage employers to develop programs and policies that support the following:
- Part-time work for all, even professional staff, that offers opportunities for leadership and advancement
- Additional paid vacation time
- Flexibility in business hours to make medical appointments, child care, and avocations more accessible
- Paid and unpaid sabbatical opportunities
- Remote work, drawing on a labor force located in different parts of the country and world
- More consultancy and specialized assignments performed by outside vendors and suppliers
Today’s workers want work to be a part of their lives, without consuming their lives.
Whether you are picnicking or pondering this Labor Day, I hope that you will pause for a moment and give thanks for the improved working conditions that those who came before us have created for our future. May your work provide both a reasonable income as well as intellectual stimulation and fulfillment.