Let’s face it, not everyone has the luxury to just get up and leave their job because their sick and tired of what they do or the people they work with. I have had many nightmare jobs I had to stick with and make the best of. However, I do believe we can all find work we love eventually, no matter who we are, but it can take some time and preparation. If you want more reassurance about this check out the work of Dan Miller or Jonathan Mead, and read the book Quitter by Jon Acuff.
You can eventually love the work you do, but if you’re going to be at your current job until that time, you might as well make the best of it right? It’s important that we keep ourselves mentally and physically healthy, and to do so we need to learn how to cope when we are starting to feel drained.
If we don’t have a plan to cope with our job, it can become overwhelming and leave us feeling stuck. So, here are 10 strategies to help you keep your sanity if you dislike your job.
1. Have goals and a purpose to work toward
If there is anything that can drive us forward and keep us taking action it’s having a purpose and a burning “why” behind what we’re doing. Even if you feel stuck at your job, you can still develop a vision for your future. Develop you exit strategy for down the road, and use your job for a spring board (whether financial or experiential) to get where you want to go. Find ways to make your current job an opportunity to prepare you for what is next. Plan your exit strategy, and keep your vision and goals in mind to help you be at your best each day.
2. Take mini-breaks each day
One of the best ways to keep energy high without losing productivity is to take small breaks during the day. It can keep you in the swing of your routine while also preventing you from getting mentally drained. These mini-breaks are only five – ten minutes long. But they can give you a chance to relax, take a few deep breathes and focus on something more inspiring.
3. Prepare to deal with toxic people
If there is anything that makes work more stressful it’s those tyrannical and obnoxious co-workers and bosses. They are full of negativity, constantly complain, and basically make your life more difficult. Don’t let them discourage your vision! You can prepare yourself to deal with them. Have a plan each time you encounter them. Maybe it’s keeping your door closed so they don’t interrupt you, or learning to be more assertive and tell them you are unable to talk right now.
4. Keep a sense of humor
Here is a challenge for you. Try to find the most ridiculous and stupid thing possible about what you do at your job. What did you come up with? When we can laugh at ourselves and others in a gentle way it lightens the load of stress and adds some joy. Humor helps us to see things in perspective. That being, they could probably be worse.
5. Make play time
It’s important to have emotional release from the hustle and bustle of life. Play can come from time outside of work, but can also come during the work day. Distracting yourself by playing a game on your mobile phone or take a break to socialize on your favorite social media site. Many companies accept this now if you’re still being responsible. Remember that when you work overtime, so does your mind and body, so make time for fun.
6. Get flexible
Change and uncertainty can be stressful, and many jobs these days are full of uncertainty. Learn to be flexible to prevent stress in your life. Things are rarely black and white but instead shades of grey. Build a tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity by letting go of the belief that things “should” be a certain way. The word “should” is mentally draining.
7. Find positive distractions
When I had a job I hated, I would do everything I could to find inspiration throughout the day. I would read blogs and talk with other dreamers about what they wanted to accomplish. I would keep in mind my bigger aspirations. The ability to distract yourself from negative preoccupations will help you get through the day.
8. Problem solve instead of reacting
Take a task-oriented approach to problems instead of reacting hastily. When you encounter and unexpected problem give yourself time to think about what you can do. Take a deep breath and ask yourself what you want to happen.
9. Take care of yourself
Let’s face it, even the busiest person has to make time for their physical health. If there is one important activity to keep your mind sharp and body energized it’s sleep. When we get less than 6-7 hours of sleep it affects our concentration, mood, productivity and overall ability to think clearly. Along with getting enough sleep, making time for exercise is high on the priorities list as well. But if you are only making time for one or the other, I would go with sleep.
10. Get in the flow
Use your signature strengths to give you a greater sense of engagement and challenge. This is a suggestion I make to coaching clients when they want to move on from a job but are still in a transition period. If we aren’t engaged mentally in our work it won’t be as fulfilling, so simply looking for ways to incorporate your strengths into what you do now. You can take an assessment to discover what your strengths are here.
I believe struggling through the daily grind is one of the most harmful things for our spirit. It’s actually one of the reasons I started the blog even though it is less of a focus these days. Whether you’re ready to move on from you job or you’re trying to make your job more fulfilling, incorporate a few of these strategies into your work life today.