We’ve all been there: in a job to which we’ve resigned ourselves. “It’s good enough,” we tell ourselves, and we try to focus on the positive. But we just can’t shake that weighed-down feeling.
Whatever the cause of your work ennui, we’ve put together five ways to help you feel better:
- Make something right now (artistic ability not required).
When you’re feeling powerless at work, or in any aspect of your life, making something is a great way to boost your energy and confidence. Things you can make include: a cake, a journal entry, a garden, a website, an article that you publish on LinkedIn, a drawing, a Spotify playlist, or a collage. Have fun, and don’t judge the results — they aren’t the point. The point is to have fun (yes, fun! Remember that?) and to enjoy the sense of agency you get from making something. Now imagine bringing that feeling into your life in a bigger way.
- Say no to energy suckers.
Especially when you’re feeling misunderstood or undervalued at work, spending time with people who get you and love you can be positively medicinal. Now is a time to go out of your way to surround yourself with people who leave you feeling good about yourself. That means also giving yourself permission to avoid spending time with people who drain you. If you have to interact with them at work, so be it, but don’t fill up your social calendar with energy suckers. Whom you spend your time with is up to you.
- Say yes to possibility.
Immerse yourself in articles, books, and movies about people doing work they love. These stories will build your belief that being happy at work is truly possible. This belief is essential to your ability to make a change.
- Do something weird.
Take a different route home from work, just because. Go to a movie you’d “never” see and order something from the concession stand that you “never” order. Sometimes, we need to show ourselves that a small change is possible, even on a completely random or mundane level, before we’re ready to believe that a large-scale change might be possible, too.
- Ask for feedback.
You’re acting from a place of good intentions, and yet, we’re none of us perfect. To truly change our circumstances, we need to be brave enough to take responsibility for the part we play in creating our own happiness. You might think you’re a terrific communicator, for example, but maybe there’s a turn of phrase you’re using in your emails that rubs your teammates the wrong way and keeps them from wanting to pull you in on creative projects. Who knows? The good news is, you don’t have to guess. If you can find the courage to ask someone with whom you work closely for feedback, you just might be surprised what doors their answers can open for you.
Finally, remember that this is just one chapter of your story. Your path so far has brought you here, but that doesn’t mean this is the end. You have the power to choose what’s next. It may not be easy, but it also may not be as hard as you think.
For more support at work, check out Your Best Work Year Yet, a kit packed with tools to help you give and receive feedback, discover your work superpower, break the cycle of negative thinking, and more.