Sometimes at work we come across people who do things to help us, whether that is something as big as advocating for us in some way, or as ‘small’ as bringing us a cupcake on a Friday afternoon. The world is full of hostility, but where we are blessed to encounter kindness, friendliness, a helpful attitude, a job well done, respect in any big or small way, then it is worth pausing to show our appreciation. The appreciation may not be in the form of an award, a bunch of flowers, or even a card – it might given circumstances be a simple ‘thank you’ expressed in person, or even by email to a colleague or fellow office worker. Show your appreciation. Say thank you. Because the kindness of others should never be taken for granted. And your kindness in saying thank you might just make a bigger difference to that person than you think.
Working in an office, a factory, on site, or even potentially from a home office depending on how you have set things up, can leave you feeling a bit detached and disconnected from the beauty of life, if you’re not careful.
I think one of the most uplifting and refreshing things in life is to be in the midst of nature. There is something about the slow, steady, seasonal and gentle pace of watching life grow that helps take us out of the frenzied hurry we often let ourselves be drawn into.
This lunchtime, I walked 3 times around my building, as it is a lovely sunny day with blue skies which can be a rare occurrence here. I sometimes go to the park, but it is a longer walk, and I have to cross traffic, etc. to get there. However, even though I didn’t get to the park, there are trees nearby, and some greenery edging the circumference of our office building area. Maybe not a lot, but enough to contribute to the satisfaction and peace that feeling more connected with nature, even just a little more, can bring.
Maybe you are in a busy central location and don’t have much greenery nearby. Maybe you work in an industrial, built up area, where everything seems to be “bricks and windows, windows and bricks” in the words of Willy Lowman (‘Death of a Salesman’ – Arthur Miller). That doesn’t mean you can’t introduce some indoor plants to your work space, maybe some succulents that are low maintenance – I keep meaning to find a cactus and give it a little home on my desk at work. These small changes can be good for us over time, and bring little bursts of happiness into our day, leaving us feeling even just that little more connected with that beautiful, natural and peaceful way of life that being near nature, and greenery brings.
Do you have a tendency to rush through your lunch breaks? Do you eat and drink ‘on the go’, and ‘wolf down’ your food while rushing to the next thing? Or do you spend most if not all of your lunch breaks at your desk, and rarely actually get up and go for a walk or take a break in which you can actually slow down, stop, think….enjoy?
Maybe you work in a fast paced environment, where everything around you is ‘rush, rush, rush’. But do you honestly think that rushing all the time is actually more productive, time saving, and better in the long term? Could small steps everyday help to improve your wellbeing and avoid burnout…..and indigestion?! Or if you’re not really at risk of that, perhaps they could just help you to live better and enjoy your life more?
I don’t think all the rushing for rushing’s sake actually does save time. It simply ‘ramps up’ our nervous system and fight / flight response, but for what?
Maybe you have somewhere very important to be, very quickly, but I presume for most of us this is an occasional occurrence rather than our daily situation. So take a break, put down your work, and enjoy your lunch. Be grateful, enjoy the taste, smell, and texture of your food. Breathe deeply, eat more slowly, and when you do go back to work you will hopefully feel better, more refreshed and relaxed, and energized for the rest of the day.
Slow and steady wins the race….it tastes better too! 🙂
If most of your working day is spent sitting at a computer, then it is important to be intentional about being active, even if that activity is simply short and regular walks along the corridor, or gentle stretching, for example arm or leg stretches which you can do while sitting at your desk. If you think about your health in the long term, then a sedentary lifestyle can be very detrimental on a number of levels. Even if you are already fairly active, it’s beneficial to keep moving throughout the day and not just waiting until the end of the day or the week to go to a gym, or for a run or some other type of exercise.
Find ways in which you can ‘step it up’ in your office environment, and you can be subtle about it. Walk up and down the stairs if you are able to – this is good for the body, mind and heart as well. Take a short walk at lunchtime. If you are going to a meeting within your building, and have the option of using stairs or a lift, take the stairs where possible. Do some simple leg stretches under your desk, or whatever movement you are able to do with your physical abilities. Your body will thank you for it in years to come, and you will be fitter, more focused and healthier to also be more productive in your work tasks. And one last thing…ladies, if you wear heels, remember to keep a pair of flat shoes at the ready! 🙂
The world can get a little too big for us sometimes. Do you ever feel that way? Aside from the politics of the world stage, the news stories from across the globe that overwhelm us, and the difficult situations facing our own communities, even on a smaller scale the world can feel far too big for us to cope with at times. Or is it just me?
In our own little microcosms of existence, whether they be in the workplace, our families, or friendship / social groups, things can get a little bit tricky to navigate, and it leaves us feeling….well….for want of a better word….’frazzled’.
For in a variety of ways, we face the ‘politics’ of the workplace, the home and our social groups. If we’re not careful, this can almost without our noticing how it happened, leave us feeling stressed, undervalued, unappreciated, anxious and overwhelmed.
Do you ever feel that way? Do you find yourself navigating other people’s moods, emotions, opinions and mini dramas? Do you find yourself silenced or taken for granted or ignored? Do you ever find yourself putting everyone else’s needs before your own, so much so that you feel disconnected, almost as if you’re an observer of your own life, rather than an active participant?
I think this can happen to us all from time to time. If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ll know that there are contrasts of happiness and frustration, fruitful communication and unfortunate misunderstandings, recognition for a job well done, and working extra hard only for someone else to get the credit, ending up taking on an extra burden of work because you’re a diligent worker and your co-worker somehow manages to cruise along, off the back of the work you have done. Similar things can happen among family and friends, albeit within slightly different contexts.
I wonder if some such scenario is running through your mind right now. I really should say that I’m not writing this to bring anyone down – quite the opposite in fact. For if you begin to recognise that niggling feeling earlier on, you’re in a better position to do something about it before you become overwhelmed by it or the people you spend time with, and maybe even love. Taking notice earlier on can foster good communication professionally, and contribute to a healthier working environment, while personally it may be an important step to protecting a relationship from failing.
Maybe the thing to start with is to recognise how all the muddle is making you feel. To do this, you need to step back a little from the situation, take some time out to be by yourself, and listen. Our minds and bodies need to process experiences, and we so often don’t give ourselves the time, space, solitude and quiet to do so. And so things fester. They bubble under the surface, and grow into problems like weeds choking the flowers in a garden.
By taking time to think and listen, to acknowledge and validate our feelings and perceptions, even if others don’t, we are able to more securely deal with whatever is in front of us and to have a healthier perspective on things.
Aside from stepping aside, we can remind ourselves that although we can’t change other people we can take responsibility for ourselves. We can be responsible for recognising how we feel, giving ourselves love and self compassion, taking time to care for ourselves and invest our time and focus on things that are good for us, and by doing so find the strength to set appropriate boundaries for how we allow other people to treat us. We don’t need to engage in confrontation. We can speak the truth quietly, wisely and with love. Or we can find growth and maturity in the silence. Sometimes.
The stronger we grow, the less we will come to expect of others. We’ll be gentler and more forgiving of them when they don’t treat us right. We’ll realise that the negativity or neglect of others has less power over our lives, because we take control of our own wellbeing and don’t allow such things to have such power in our lives anymore.
If you are feeling frazzled, don’t worry. It happens to us all, and maybe you need help from someone with expertise, which is also quite normal I assure you, or maybe you need to step back and give yourself time to breathe, to think, to process and take care of your own needs.
It’s a noisy world out there. Don’t let its vastness diminish you as a person. Take time aside and rest for a while. You’ll feel so much better for it. xx