How You Can Be Happier at Work

Beautiful days seem gray. Your six dollar coffee tastes like mud. And the soothing voices on NPR do little to quell the impending twitch in your right eye. You’re panicked, yet resigned, as you take that last sighing breath before opening the door. Jury duty? A funeral? Dinner with the in-laws? You wish. You’re at work and you’re miserable.

It seems like at some point in time every individual finds himself or herself in an intolerable, yet inescapable, job. Maybe you don’t trust the job market enough to call it quits right now. Maybe you’re waiting for that seemingly perpetually out-of-reach promotion. Whatever the reason, you’re sticking it out and you might as well make the most of it. We want to help you make the most of a less-than-ideal situation. So here are five things to look at when you just hate your job.

Attitude can seriously affect job performance.

While you try to find a job or tough it out with a promotion in mind, don’t let negativity turn you from a victim into a problem.

  • First things first: What’s making you miserable? Is it the actual work, your boss, or a coworker? Can anything be done to remedy it? If it’s your actual job, talk to your coworkers. More often than not, there’s an aspect of their responsibilities that they’re struggling to enjoy.
  • Swapping small responsibilities for the one you’re more suited for will not only improve your mood but office productivity as well. If you stop looking at your job as a chore and see it as an opportunity to work toward a purpose you’ll notice a huge difference in your daily outlook.

Get Involved.

Are you involved in office life? Do you even know your coworkers’ last names? Jobs aren’t unlike college and grade school. Making friends, or at least someone you can chat with makes a huge difference. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Suggest an office outing once a week.
  • Bring a treat to share with everyone.
  • Join your office’s fantasy football league (sports-related managerial skills or not).
    A little friendly effort can go a long way. Having something in common with your coworkers besides a mutual disdain for your careers will break up the monotony of your conversations, and hey, who knows, maybe you’ll mix a smile in every here and there.

Working toward something is very different from working through something.

Where do you want to be in five years? Can you achieve that with your current company, and are you on track to do so? Give yourself a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when, then clearly lay out your goals and speak with your supervisor. Generally, a boss wants their employees to do well and advance. If they can help you on your path to personal success they will. If they can’t, at least you’ll know that it’s time to look elsewhere either within or outside of the company.

Don’t take your misery (your job) home with you.

Make sure that there is a distinct difference between your work life and home life. Finish sending those emails before you leave the office instead of bringing any negative energy or stress home with you.

  • If you aren’t expected to be available at all times, disable any work-related push notifications on your cell phone. The stress of simple notifications slowly building up can have you dreading the next workday before you even get home from today’s. Your home should be a happy and calm place for you to unwind.
  • Also, your family and friends aren’t your therapists. Sharing negative feelings only breeds more of them. Focus on the good parts of your day (it was Taco Tuesday!) rather than the dismal. In the same way that negativity can cut things down, a positive demeanor at home will build up your personal and family relationships.

Sunshine and exercise can do wonders for a stressed mind and body.

Sunlight promotes endorphin and serotonin production in the body. Both of these majorly contribute to a positive mood. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is a healthy coping mechanism that“gets your mind away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.”Physical exercise also releases endorphins and positive neurotransmitters. Going for a jog, playing a game of pick-up basketball, or walking your dog after work is all healthy ways to wind down from the stress of your job.

Before your unhappiness affects your work and results in termination, step back, and assess how you’re handling these five things. Are you working to keep a positive attitude, staying involved, and pursuing your goals? Are you keeping a healthy body, mind, and home environment? It’s important to not allow yourself to feel like you’re in a helpless situation, as you are not. Take control of yourself and your situation. Your job doesn’t have to be a negative aspect of your life, and it all starts with you.

Related: 12 Kickass Ways to Love Your Job.

Shelley Davenport is a copywriter for Barnes Employment Group, a staffing company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.

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