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Stuck in an imperfect job? Try some simple self-care

If work is grinding you down and you don’t see an exit ramp, counter the stress with positivity, mindfulness and other techniques.

If you’re not in that optimal job yet, and have to be where you are for now, you can still reduce stress and burnout at work. Many tools of self-care and self-healing are free and can significantly and positively affect the work environment.


Practice mindfulness

Research has supported the hypothesis that mindfulness can increase on-the-job resilience and improve effectiveness and safety. If you need to push the reset button on your emotions, try this: Quiet your inner voice and just breathe for five slow and deep breaths. Another way to practice mindfulness is to chew a piece of gum and count the number of chews until it runs out of flavor. Staying mindful in the present moment also helps you to worry less.


Think positively

How we think affects how we feel and how we behave. If you tend to think negatively, try turning your negative thoughts around to more positive ones and watch your mood improve. To develop more positive thinking patterns, make it a habit to read a motivating book for five minutes every morning. It will help buffer you against negativity throughout the day.


Create a respite space

Any small space can be turned into an area that is dedicated to peace and quiet for recovery. If you’re not in a position to change your workspace, make your car an area of calm you can escape to on a break.


Post beautiful pictures

Research shows that visual triggers can help to motivate behavior change and reduce stress.


Multitask less, monotask more. 

In an age of endless distractions, it’s important to focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking can drain your energy and deter you from fully engaging in the task at hand. The next time you feel yourself getting distracted, try mentally picturing a stop sign. Then give your all to one task.


Cut the commute

Commuting is the least favorite activity people do on a daily basis. Research shows that people who commute an hour each way would need an additional 40 percent of their monthly salary to be as satisfied with their life as people who walk to the office. If a long commute is affecting your pleasure in working, try to intentionally use that time for enjoyment by listening to music or audiobooks.


Have an attitude of gratitude

Even if you are not aligned with your dreams and passions in your current position, concentrate on a few things about your job for which you are thankful. Counting your blessings on a daily basis can improve your mood and make it easier to find joy in your job.

About the author

About the author

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk is vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, dean and professor in the College of Nursing, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry in the College of Medicine and executive director of the Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare.