As a new hire, your days may feel like you’re putting out one fire after another, barely making it through the day without third degree burns. Not only are you learning about your new role, your colleagues, your company, and office politics, you are also trying very hard to seem like you know what you’re doing – at least most of the time. Despite the biggest and most sincere can-do attitude, there may be days that just zap your energy, leaving you feeling low, grouchy, exhausted, or even physically ill.
Off days are just a part of being human, so refrain from punishing yourself for not being able to always bring your A game in the way that you’d hoped. I heard this analogy recently that seemed very appropriate. Imagine you’re carrying bags of groceries from your vehicle into your house, not realizing that the bags have holes in them. As you’re walking along, you’re merrily leaving a trail of items behind unknowingly. When you reach your pantry, ready to unpack your bags, you can’t help but wonder, “Didn’t I have more than this?”
Both at work and at home, you’re constantly giving parts of yourself away. You share your energy, drive, excitement, emotions, stamina, and even your patience. I don’t need to tell you that you can’t keep giving away what you don’t have, and can’t spend energy that you’ve already spent. You owe it to yourself (and arguably also those around you, including your boss) to reinvigorate yourself so that you can be your best self.
Self-nourishment is about about plugging the holes in your life and replenishing what you share and what is taken from you every day. It is about nourishing your mind, heart, and body daily. If you fail to do so, your one off day may soon turn into a string of them, leaving you feeling like you’re constantly off your game. The problem with a rut is that you have very little energy and motivation to change things for the better, and it seems tough (perhaps even impossible) to find the insight or resources you need to make the necessary jump out of it. Stop yourself from getting that low by taking steps each day to reinvigorate yourself. Here are five fun and easy ways to stay invigorated at work and home so that you may continue living the life you have dreamed of:
1. Change Things Up
Adjusting to a new work routine can be a challenge. You might be one of those people who appreciates flexibility and variety, though your position might require you to do a lot of the same things or follow a predictable schedule. Though a routine most often helps ensure that a business operates smoothly, when the things you do every day become too predictable and the norm, you might start running on auto-pilot. This stifles the kind of creativity that gets you excited about your projects and your job in general.
So, change things up! Get up earlier, change your breakfast cereal, start working out during your lunch hour, change the radio station you listen to at work, move your office furniture around, or take an alternate route to or from work. A few minor changes will serve you well, as it will make you feel less confined and more empowered. Different choices could mean seeing things a little differently!
2. Be Careful Not to Over-check Your E-mail
Turns out that checking your e-mail first thing in the morning and again five times every hour throughout the day is a sure way to kill your productivity and zap your energy. Who would have known? Experts in the field advise against sleeping with your smartphone and instead recommend checking your e-mail once you get to work and at strategic intervals thereafter. Personal development trainer and time management guru Sid Savara advises, “Work on something important for 30-45 minutes, and only then check it. If you can stand it, wait even longer. Some days I don’t check email at all until after lunch… As long as you’re ignorant of everything else that’s going on outside, you can concentrate on what you want to work on. You don’t know… about that special sale that’s going on today and you don’t know about that funny video your buddy sent you.” Avoid getting lost in your inbox and rather knock things off of your to do list. Successful project completion is a surefire way to feel good and build confidence. Do, however, keep an eye out for important e-mails, while saving the rest for later. It is critical that you stay aware of the needs of your boss, team members, and clients so as to provide excellent customer service and to be a strong team player.
3. Schedule Lunch Dates with Colleagues
Use your lunch hour very strategically, as it is the perfect opportunity for you to connect with colleagues in your office and organization. New friendships and networking relationships can be exciting and help ease your adjustment. It could also lead to inspiring conversations that may help you to see things in a new way or approach projects differently. Do be careful not to spend your lunch hours with others who might pull you into negative conversations about the company and/or the people in it. Time spent that way is counterproductive, as it can be especially draining and even harmful to your image within the company.
4. Seek Out “Zen Moments”
Often, the simplest of things can help to replenish your reserves – calling a friend, going to a romantic dinner with your partner, listening to your favorite song, taking a walk in the park, or joining a Zumba class. Find out what things give you what a friend of mine likes to call a “zen moment” – a brief moment where the noise of the world fades, bad things no longer matter, and things just suddenly make sense. Sometimes you will be able to find these moments in the middle of the day while you are at work. For instance, if you have a window in your office, remember to notice the world outside every now and then. Nature (and people watching) can be extremely peaceful. If zen moments at work are difficult to come by, close your door for a second and recite a positive affirmation to get your head back in the game. You are important enough to spend time taking care of yourself. It doesn’t matter what the activity, forego excuses and make your “me time” happen! If you have to, pen it into your planner so that you won’t have an excuse not to follow through.
5. Use Your Time Away From the Office Wisely
Vacation days are a rare commodity in the working world, as are free evenings and weekends. Be careful not to waste precious time on activities that don’t reinvigorate you. Though “happy hour” sounds like a great idea after a long day, guard against overindulgence that could leave you feeling even worse the next day. Likewise, lying mindlessly in front of the television might offer relief for a tired mind and body, but it will likely not re-energize you for the days ahead. Your time might be better served going to the gym or taking up a new hobby that gets you excited. Also be careful not to cram so much into your weekends that you feel like you need the rest of the week just to recover from it. Your time away from the office should be nourishing, not add to your exhaustion. Be purposeful in the activities you choose and the time you spend on them. Rather than using a vacation day here and there, it might be smarter to save up days so that you could take a longer break that will really help you recharge.
6. Seek Opportunities for Growth
Many of us are energized by the possibilities and opportunities we see around us. If your adjustment has been tough, remember, “this, too shall pass” and start searching for growth opportunities around you. Perhaps there is a training opportunity that will help you gain an edge over others when a promotion comes around. Maybe learning a new skill or furthering your education will be invigorating in and of itself. As a new hire, remember that you are already growing at lightening speed, so if you feel like you can barely handle your current responsibilities this might not be the best choice for you. However, it might inspire you to set short- and long-term goals and to chart your desired career path within your company and beyond. There’s nothing quite like a well formulated life plan to keep you focused and invigorated.
As you strive to live the life you have imagined for yourself, remember that both in your job and at home you cannot give away what you don’t have. Feeling low, grouchy, exhausted, and even physically ill should never become your normal. You owe it to yourself and others to make sure that you re-energize yourself. Though there are many more clever strategies to follow, the ones described above are a good start towards keeping you out of a rut and invigorated while you adjust to your new role.
Happy self nourishment, friends!
Tagged with: attitude • balance • boss • burnout • career counselor • career success • change • colleagues • growth • insight • interpersonal skills • job survival skills • living a purposeful life • motivation • nourishment • opportunity • productivity • professional • rut • self • zen
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