To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.
Jim Valvano

Photo Credit:  Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The holidays are upon us, which are meant to bring cheer and good spirit into our lives. We have the opportunity to gather with friends and loved ones to enjoy good food and share in fun and laughter. At the same time the holiday season for many employees means helping their employer to meet year end goals. As a result, the season of joy and happiness may bring about stress and workplace misery.

However, this stress and workplace misery isn’t necessarily just limited to the holiday season and year end closing. It can be a permanent condition. During entrepreneurship workshops and webinars that I lead, I’m encountering more and more career professionals who are hoping to start their own business to escape this misery. Then when they hear about some of the intricacies of starting and running their own business, they decide that it might not be the solution after all.

It’s then back to the drawing board to figure out how to deal with the misery in their career life and workplace environment. If you’re finding yourself in the same boat, here are 3 simple ways to help you get yourself unstuck from workplace misery:

  1. Keep it simple. When we’re in misery mode, we tend to create a lot of clutter in both our heads and environment. The mind chatter becomes incessant. We’re going back to the past to see where we might have made mistakes or we’re projecting out 10,000 different scenarios into the future. The simple solution is to stay in the present. Ask yourself what you can do in this very moment to create a moment of joy or what actions can you to take to create a positive solution for yourself. Then take steps to de-clutter stuff around you. Toss what you know longer need and what cramps your creativity. Take time to spend in thought and figure out what you can let go of in your life (e.g. anger or past hurts) to devote that very energy toward positive actions leading to a more desired solution.
  2. Put others first. The misery you find yourself puts you into isolation mode with your miserable self. It’s very easy to fall into the pity party trap. You either feel sorry for yourself or you blame yourself for being where you are. The easiest way to get out of the pity party trap is to focus on doing something for someone else. Ask yourself what act of service can you commit to today? Is there a family member who needs your assistance? Is your company looking for volunteers for a company charity event? Has a neighbor fallen on hard times and could use a hand around the house? Research has shown that we are hard-wired for face-to-face contact that includes lots of touch, eye contact, and smiles. These interactions release a hormone called oxytocin, which helps us bond and care for others. It also helps us handle stress much better. So commit to taking one action step of putting someone else first.
  3. Create a new story. Workplace misery is often a result of that constantly repeating story you’ve created in your head on what’s wrong with your job, employer or life. Why not then write a new song to play over and over again? Tell yourself that things are changing for the better. Then start looking for evidence on what’s working in your life and disregard for a while what isn’t working. Why? Well, focusing on what’s not working in your life has made you pretty miserable, hasn’t it? Throughout your work day, jot down random things that make you smile, bring a moment of joy or caused you to say “yay!” If you practice this on a regular basis – who knows – you might be able to create your very own fairy tale career!

As Jim Valvano said in his quote “If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.” Who really wants to waste her time stuck in workplace misery when there are simple ways out? Wishing you much simplicity, service and fun story-telling!

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