workIf you are working, chances are that the majority of your time is spent around colleagues. Every workplace has a certain feel, a certain employee culture. And even when an employee culture feels warm and welcoming and work is going well, sometimes you begin to feel the drain of physical, mental, and emotional energy. On the flipside, you may be in a dysfunctional work environment and feel the impact of its unhealthy atmosphere.

How do you know if you are being negatively impacted? Check out these tell-tale signs:

  • You don’t feel excitement for your work as you once did.
  • You feel like something is missing from your life, but you don’t know what.
  • You find yourself daydreaming about an alternate life and career.
  • You always feel tired.
  • Your body is showing physical symptoms that have become constant, i.e., joint pain, rash, digestive issues.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, maybe you should take time out to have a real conversation with your heart and ask yourself what changes you need to make. Better yet, talk to a professional or at least a trusted friend.

In the meantime, this baker’s dozen offers a valuable tool chest for incremental job satisfaction and overall happiness.

Physical Health

These activities are good for your body. You know, that thing that carries you around all day long!

  • Take short breaks every hour to stretch your legs. Walk the hallway and strike up a conversation with a colleague.
  • Take a walk outside for some fresh air. As you walk, take slow deep inhalations through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Your brain will thank you.
  • Don’t starve yourself! It’s easy to get “into the flow” and miss lunch. That is especially bad when you already neglected breakfast. Have healthy snacks in your desk, such as protein bars and fruit. And don’t forget to drink lots of water. Your body needs it!

Mental Health

Interruptions can be a good thing when it comes to how you feel.

  • Take a humor break. Laughter is the best medicine. Make it a part of your daily life in ways that you most appreciate. Google humorous podcasts, and have a listen. I recently began listening to No Such Thing as a Fish. If you enjoy British humor, you’ll love this one.
  • Listening to music not only calms your thoughts and feelings, but it also can motivate you. Most people love music, and different kinds of music have different effects on people. What music pumps you up when you need the extra boost? What music makes you feel calm when everything around you is chaotic?
  • Be open to mentoring (yourself and others). Mentoring can be so impactful, especially when it’s a two-way street. Who could help you develop to the next level in your career? Who might benefit from your input? 

Emotional Health

How we express our feelings is of particular importance in the workplace. You can ensure your best emotional presence with tips.

  • Assume positive intent, even when angry. This isn’t easy, but I learned a long time ago that we don’t always know all the details behind someone’s words and actions. When we assume positive intent, we’re giving them the benefit of the doubt. A great clarifying question to ask is, “What was your thought process behind (insert statement or behavior)?”
  • Search for the potential in others. Often people are in jobs that don’t necessarily showcase their talent. Look for clues of potential in their words and how they perform their work. If you help uncover someone’s true potential, you’ll have a dedicated friend for life.
  • Be generous with your time. Nothing shows character like the willingness to give of yourself to others. Everyone is busy, but those who take the time to get to know their employees and coworkers are the real gems worth hanging onto.
  • Get involved (volunteer, sports teams). Many organizations have volunteer days and recreational sports teams. These are great ways to get to know other employees and build relationships — while contributing to a great cause — even it that cause is exercise!

Physical, Mental & Emotional Best Practices

  • Don’t take work home with you. Just stop it. Carve out at least that much time for family, friends, and yourself.
  • Keep regular hours (except in emergencies). Your body loves routine. Make it a good one to maintain your best state of health.
  • Remember what’s most important (family, health). Bottom line, YOU are most important. When you are healthy and happy, you are in the best position to perform at work and maintain meaningful relationships.

If you incorporate even a few of these suggestions into your workday, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. Work doesn’t have to be draining. And one last tip — don’t forget to smile. Not only does it feel good to wear a smile, but it also makes others feel good to see one!

Sheila Callaham has more than 20 years communications experience in the public and private sectors. She is a natural motivator who believes that everyone has something good to bring to the table. 

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