Before we ring in the New Year with the din of noisemakers and “Auld Lang Syne,” let’s agree that 2021 has been a stressful year.
Let’s also agree that we’re not sure what the next few months and beyond will bring into our collective lives.
For now, instead of dwelling on what could go wrong (think Omicron, inflation, labor shortages), let’s try to take it easier on ourselves.
First, do whatever you can to cut yourself some slack. Then cut some more slack for those around you at work, wherever your workplace happens to be.
I believe there are a number of subtle shifts in behavior and attitude that may help you ease the stressors many of us are feeling as this year comes to a close.
Here are some thoughts that I encourage you to consider:
- Try to accept where you are right now. Let go of nagging doubts about where you think you should be or where others think you should be. As the saying goes, it is what it is.
- Write down the positives in your life, then do your best to rid yourself of as many negatives as possible.
- Take time to enjoy where you are, both literally and figuratively. Vow to make the best of who you are, starting now.
- Let yourself unplug when you leave the office. In our company, short of a fire burning that’s burning down the building, our policy is that no one should be contacted on their weekends or while on vacation.
- Don’t let the ping of an email or an incoming text distract you during a family dinner or a valued conversation with friends and loved ones. Make use of the “out of office” message.
- In coping with the ongoing uncertainties of Covid, most of us have experienced what’s known as FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out.
Instead of going all FOMO, try to “stay in the moment.”
Behavioral research tells us that when you’re fully present for the activity in front of you, not distracted by what others think you should be doing or what others are doing, then you’re more likely living a happier life.
That’s similar to the shift in mindset that occurs when you commit to being your own Career Coach. From that point on, you’re in control of your life’s decisions. You’re calling the shots.
And just as we have hot-streak periods in our lives and careers, we can also hit plateaus. So, if you’ve been putting too much pressure on yourself, tell your Career Coach to chill.
It’s true that the constant drive to be productive steals time from the very human need to bond with friends and family. Nurturing a stronger sense of community and friendship is essential to crafting a better balance of life.
There’s a big difference between healthy self-motivation, which we all need, and self-inflicted anxiety, which in most cases we can all live without. Try taking a breath when you hit a plateau and refuel for the next hot streak.
Spend time with fun-loving, positive, happy people
Simply put, we all need “down time” to spend more time surrounded by fun-loving, positive, happy people whom we love and respect. Or just to relax more.
After all, how many people on their death bed do you think say they wished they had worked harder?
None that I’ve ever known.
If we’re lucky, we can receive plenty of gratification from our work. Those steady paychecks help, too. But we can also receive lots of stress, pressure and anger from too much focus on work and not enough on “me” time.
Stop and take a moment to check in with yourself. See where you are in your life balance. Emphasize the positive and chase away nay-saying demons.
Focus on family and friends. Focus on what brings you joy. And, yes, do focus on your job because it is clearly important to you.
But try to keep it all in proper perspective.
And be sure to use that “out of office” message for as many long and short periods as you need.
Blair is co-founder of Manpower Staffing and author of “Job Won.” firstname.lastname@example.org