How to kick work stress in the butt

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Pulling your hair out? is this a daily occurrence? Well my friend you may be suffering from work stress, it is not a pretty thing but it inhabits most peoples work lives daily. Like a unsuspecting smell that catches you off guard, causing you into a downward spiral.  How crappy is that?!

Not so long ago I was that person pulling my hair out, even to a point of locking myself away in a stationary cupboard just to get a moments peace (from myself and others). It is not pretty, it is draining and if you don’t try and kick it in the bud as soon as possible, you will be in for a nasty ride of mental and physical health issues.

Recently I have being reading quite a few articles on this subject and also it seems to be a theme that magazines have been thrashing over and over again, but are these recommendation really worth it? It is a hit and miss really, some advice is completely useless for example “take some time in the day, get up from your desk and go sit somewhere”.

Now lets be honest this advice doesn’t really cover any work environment, seriously! In my work there is limited places to go “relax”, even then you are sharing this space with a minimum 5-6 people. So I thought I would refine what has been spouted on the internet and give you some no frills tips on how to reduce work stress!

Clean the Inbox

How many times this trick has got me to switch off, I literally go into my inbox and start organising my emails. The simple clicking and dragging completed emails into appropriate boxes, is oddly soothing and quite productive at the end of the day. At any moment I usually have 500 emails sitting in my inbox, so this is a brilliant trick! You find that by focusing on a simple task, the stress of everything else drops away for that time and once you have allocated the emails there is an instant gratification. I also wrote about how I freed my personal inbox  if you want to also clean you inbox at home.

Get the Hell Outside

If you anything like me, you work in a dungeon of an office. 80% artificial light and the other 20% is a little slither from windows far away…how utterly depressing and also stress inducing! Even if you just got for a walk around the block, it is amazing how much some fresh air and sunshine can make you feel clearer. I usually ask if my team want anything from up the road, the excuse gets me out and about even if it is only for 10 minutes!

Change up your lunch

You might find this surprising, but changing up your lunch change improve your mood. Our bodies need nourishment! Its not surprising that we become creatures of habit and end up eating the same thing pretty much everyday. Then why not mix up your lunch? Eat sandwiches everyday? Have a salad, pasta salad, potato salad? Recently I came across this youtube clip  with a few salad ideas. I love all the options, you can make your prepared meals so much fun (and tasty of course!)

Rearrange your desk (and clean it too)

I cannot think of something more satisfying then rearranging, not only do you end up standing up and moving around (good for the circulation), you also end up having an eye break. Get rid of pens that don’t work, update you post it note collection (I confess I do have quite a few), complete that filing you have been meaning to do. Don’t forget to wipe down your phone and screen in the process! The amazing thing is no one is going to judge you for doing this, as a matter of fact they might join you and start doing their own desk clear out. Before you know it 10-15 minutes has passed, you have a clean and organised desk: plus you might find that you are not feeling as stressed as you did before.

Check your social media

Yes you read that correctly, the best way to have a break from a stressful situation is to check in with your social media. You could go on Pinterest and add a few pins, or you could go on Instagram and find some new people to follow. Scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feed for 5 minutes and I can guarantee you will find yourself not worrying about work; it is not as hands on as some of my other recommendations but it definitely removes you from the current pressure you might be feeling.

My recommendations can help reduce immediate stress, however I would suggest you seek professional advice if you are constantly stressed. Stress is silent killer and we all need to take care of ourselves, especially in the workplace.

to kicking stresses butt!

Zoe

Credit Image: Pexel

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Adapting to Change

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You have been in a comfortable job now for some time, but all of a sudden new management comes along and shakes everything up. Scared and confused you hold on to any form of familiarity, why should these new people change the processes? there was nothing wrong with the old ones?! So you push against change, you strike, you refuse to learn any new systems they might present you…and all for what? Just to keep something you believe is good?

But have you actually thought about your surrounding environment, not everything revolves around how you feel and especially in business. Now it might seem a bit harsh and yes I know many of you would have taken offence immediately, yet there is some truth to my statement. Restructuring is never easy for anyone, anything from a break up with a loved one, to your perfect job being divvied away. Life is tough, though it doesn’t give you an excuse to act like a child, stopping your feet and throwing your toys out of your cot.

Many of us will do this at some point in our lives, and quite frankly I don’t blame any of you. However what we need to do as professional is quite frankly to act like one, you can give yourself one boo boo…but then that is it! No more tantrums, no more making other peoples lives difficult because you are not getting your way. Time to put on those big girl/boy panties on and make smart decision on how you are going to face this change!

But where do I begin you say? Well let’s start with a little bit of empathy, put yourself in other people’s shoes for just a moment and try to see their side of the story. I am not saying you have to agree with them, but understanding them is the right way to adapting to change. Analyse the proposed changes, what is different? Look at the explanations, how will these changes affect your job? Do you see where the managers are wanting to take the company? Asking questions like this will help you understand where your frustration might be coming from and also see the bigger picture for your team and company. You might even start to like the ideas…SHOCK!

Listen and observe how the changes are going. Are you benefiting or is your job slowly being entailed away to others? Become an analytical observer it is a sure fire way to be opened minded. The pro’s versus the con’s, the good the bad and the ugly. However the most important thing is to be objective, when you make it personal, you make it difficult for yourself. Yes, it is easier said then done, but you have to keep trying because you may find yourself jobless and not for the right reasons.

Chin up dears, it is not the end of the world. You will find once the changes set in you will be comfortable again, remember to relax and use my suggestion on how to be open minded when everything goes topsy turvy.

To adapting to change,

Zoe

 

Image credit: Joey Sforza

Use Your Calendar Like A Pro

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As of late I have been heavily relying on my calendars at work and when I mean calendars I mean technologically and physically. Years ago it was quite common to have your diary open on the day in which you would have made your notes, but since the technological revolution of the smartphone an computers I have seen people loss touch with the essentials of being organised. It still baffles me that even with the smart phones people are still managing to miss place information and run late for meetings.

What it is really down to is refining and deciding what medium will work for you, for example I use my outlook calendar to schedule in all important tasks that I need to do daily, weekly or monthly. I then use a physical diary to write notes and comments but which I can refer back to or look ahead. I do not sync my phone or use my phone’s calendar for work, I choose to do this because any extra work can be achieved in working hours.

Physical Calendars

So what mediums are there that you can use, well you have outlook calendar, Google (or similar) calendar, a physical diary, a desktop/wall calendar and lastly your mobile calendar. Whew that is just feels overwhelming talking about it! First things first you need to establish where you will be, does your job entail that you sit at a desk for most of the day? Or are you out and about, interacting with customers, making delivery or doing research?

When you have reviewed what your work routine is then you can start to decide on what medium will work for you, desk calendars are really good for quick referencing. Circling the date and put a small note this makes you consciously aware of something important is coming, however if you are not at your desk everyday it could be a hindrance and make you feel anxious rather than organised. If you are not at your desk everyday a small diary could be a better alternative than a desk calendar, you can circle the dates on the monthly overview and then add more detail to the day/weekly overview. Moving aware from the physical calendar we now have reached the technological calendar.

Technological Calendars

Whether its Gmail, outlook or your apple calendar they all roughly hold the same functions. If you need to be out and about as part of your job syncing your phone to your calendar is essential, I know each calendar has a different setup process but the setup wizard will guide you through it. Once this is done it opens some many possibilities to keep you organised, one feature I believe that is not used efficiently enough is the alarm setting. You need to understand that you can put multiple alarms for one note, if you know that you are a swipe and forget person put in alarms throughout the week so it can give you the kick up the butt that you need. I like have one the day before and one an hour out, this ensures that I do not arrive or complete the task in a rush!

There are plenty of list apps on the market today that are designed to help you be more “organsied”, but it is purely down to making the small efforts with your calendars. Sync your calendar to your phone, then apply the right alarms and I guarantee you will be away laughing at how these reminders are saving you time and embarrassment.

If this system doesn’t work in your job or life then play around with my recommendations and I can guarantee you with find a calendar method that will work for you.

Have I missed anything? Is there a way that you use your calendar that kills what I do? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Much love and work magic,

Zoe

How to ace your work probation

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After applying for numerous jobs and going for a ton of interviews, you finally manage to land a job!

So what next?

We all become obsessed with trying to get a job that once we have one we become a little overenthusiastic about everything and everyone that we just become downright annoying!

What we must not forget is that most companies have a 3 month work probation period, a lot of people hate this clause but I actually don’t mind it. There has only been one case for me where I didn’t like the job I was working in and it made it so much easier to hand in my notice (1 week as well).  But I digress, I feel like this a double sword… however it is an important topic to discuss. There is nothing wrong with being eager, just don’t overkill it with too many questions

A good method is to establish how you ask for help in the workplace. When you start a new job you always feel like a fish out of water, not knowing the procedures, not knowing where the equipment is stored and definitely not knowing what the social cues are. The best thing to do is find a buddy that can give you that knowledge, the go to person for general questions. Sometimes the company will assign you one but it depends really, making a good connection with your buddy is essentials as they are you in to getting to know everyone.

Smile when you meet someone, along with a firm handshake and great eye contact can give you an instant good impression. I am a sucker for smiles, smiles can make anyone more comfortable! These little prompt set you off on the right foot, establishing a good impression is important. I don’t mean this as you are trying to start a personal relationship with some but more your colleague will apply positive adjectives when someone mentions you. For example the adjectives I receive are upbeat, friendly and approachable, now who wouldn’t want those adjectives applied to them?!

So you have done the initial two to three weeks of meeting everyone in the company, but you still have another 2 and a half months to go. The secret is that it is important to listen to people, whether it is ease dropping on conversations or when someone is talking directly to you. By doing this you are obtaining the tools as to what annoys your colleagues (i.e not fessing up when you have made a mistake) and what satisfy them (i.e. using the font they like in your reports).

Another important thing is punctuality, arrive at work on time, let people know when you are going to lunch. These may sound simple but they are effective, you look on the ball and accessible which means you are reliable and reliable people are the ones that last the longest in a company.

Always ask for feedback, whether it is from a project or day to day tasks that you do. Not only does it help you with finding the best method to complete tasks but you are also showing you enthusiasm to learn and be better.

If you keep working the three points about you are going to get through that 3 month work probation, adapt, improve and excel. These word should be in your vocabulary, they can also be applied to everyday life as we all know it forever changing.

To acing your work probation,

Zoe

Image credit: JLO’s Clothing Line

Surrounded by delicious food? No problem!

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“Food, it’s everywhere and it’s so delicious!”

Haven’t we heard this before? My recent job has me working for a fine food distributor, so that means most days I am surrounded by very tempting food. Glorious mouth-watering food that is what! As an office worker I am always trying to find ways to not become addict to eating in my environment (i.e. eating while I am at my desk), especially since 3/4 of my time is spent sedentary. I have yet mastered it fully, because really people we all have our weaknesses! It’s not easy trying to sit there and ignore the tasty treats tempting you from across the room, but hey I am not perfect and that is alright in my book, I do practice on myself restraint because a) I don’t want to be fighting unnecessary kilos and b) its a great technique to have that can transferred into other areas of your life.

I thought I would share with you some of my mental exercises that help still enjoy the food around me, but with more control and appreciation, like Nigella Lawson said “I hate the implication that food is somehow dirty or to be ashamed of”. 

 

My techniques:

  • Literally voicing to yourself why you do not need to eat this, I also incorporate telling myself that I can eat this whenever I want; It is the truth! We can eat whatever we want any time, there should be celebration when we eat delicious and decadent food…
  • Remember water is your friend, when you think you might be hungry you might actually be thirty. This has saved me so many time, seriously it can be surprising how dehydrated we can get.
  • Go for a walk to another department, save up some paperwork that needs to be delivered somewhere else (only if it is not too important I might add). It gives you enough time to really trust your body’s feelings as whether it is hunger or actually impulse.
  • Share the free food: someone offers you something cannot resist, well you can take and split it with you colleague. This not only helps with your friendship it also helps cut you consumption!

 

I would love to hear your opinions about my techniques, do you do something similar? or is there a great method that you have created, I would love to hear from you!

 

Zoe

Image Credit – Wildfox Couture

Colleague friendships are the best!

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If you look back through your life, can you place a time where you made a new friend from a short experience? School, Camp, Holiday or Work? How did you feel having this new found friend to share the good times and the bad times? Would these words possible be wonderful, marvelous down right the best thing that is happening right now. Over the years I have observed and have been on the receiving end of colleague friendships, and you know what? its what I crave the in the workplace.

So why is it important to have colleague friendships? Well that is the million dollar question isn’t? This article I read reestablished my gut feeling about having friends in the work place, because its not only healthy for you both physically and mentally but socially as well.

I luckily made colleague friendships in each company I worked at, they were my buddy/buddies who I could experience the good and the bad with. They gave me a reason to come to work when things got tough and they were there when I needed someone to vent to. There is a reliance on one another to keep the morale going, when one or the other is feeling down trodden.

“But Zoe how do I make these work place friends?” Well beau I got you, from the wayward files here is some tips on establishing good workplace friendships.

  1. Smile: when you walk around the office, just smile. If you catch the eye of someone and you smile back at them then they will get the friendly vibe. Plus it helps with keeping a better morale and shows that you are an approachable person, so many good points to smiling.
  2. Establish a friendly interaction: they ask you a question or for some help, if you can do it. The drop in a little joke or even a compliment this will establish a friendly connection, they then will likely return it later on. With the mix of smiling and friendly comments you will slowly find that you will start talking more to this person in passing.
  3. Have quirky email responses: again if they ask you a question or help via email, sign off with a quirky response. I like to use “well back to dungeon, it was nice talking to you!”, Or something more upbeat if you like. Now you have opened the channels of conversation, next thing you know the is more non work casual emails.
  4. Catch them on their break: now I am not trying to sound stalker like, but if you do break around the same time as them and you have to share space for breaks. Then by all means go up to them and ask if you can sit with them, engage in light chit chat but if they don’t seem like they want to talk much then just enjoy sitting in comfortable silence.
  5. Repeat 1-4: Keep up your efforts and you will find everything will naturally fall into place, conversations and invites to events will happen. Just don’t force it, my recommendations are about using the natural situations to enhance the possibilities of friendship.

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” ― Helen Keller

Zoe

Image Startup Stock Photos

Its all or nothing when it comes to job hunting

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This week I have had a few interviews for potential job. This got me thinking about how everything can change in an instant and how we need to absorb it! I know we are all guilty at not seeing the light at the end of tunnel, lately I have definitely been struggling with this. Especially with the feedback I have been getting from the companies who have interviewed me, again you need to take it with a grain of salt and turn the negatives into positives.

Now here are some hurdles I have been experiencing and I thought I might share with you how to overcome them like I did.

  • You are too ambitious: this did stop me in my tracks for a little bit, I mean all through university the lecturers always said “you need to be driven and motivated in order to succeed”. Now you its “too ambitious” from potential employers, well do you know what that screams…INTIMIDATED. Don’t sweat it, things will work out, I promise! I had to cool off for an hour and then I started to realise that this feedback came down to my presentation skills during interviews. So I flipped back to my post The Interview Cheat Sheet and revised again on how I can tone it down a little. For me it was a matter of reviewing the company to see if the had room for progression and also being selective on how much honesty I wanted to give the company, maybe it was too much and they got a little put off?
  • We want some with relevant industry experience: well I am trying to shift away from my current industry, this is something many people including myself find frustrating me to hear. Again this is just the patience everyone needs to have, we all know this but everyone can get annoyed when it feels like its constant. I needed to just keep reminding myself that it just takes one open minded person for opportunities to happen, also I spoke with a friend who was in recruitment and they recommend contacting someone in the industry you want to be in. Ask them out for coffee and possibly talk to them about being your mentor, this could lead many things even a job!
  • Recruiters trying to place you in jobs that really don’t interest you: I luckily am only registered to one large recruitment agency, but if you can try signing up to a smaller organisation. They are still sales driven like the large organisations, but they work harder at placing you and you get a more personable service. I have two smaller companies working for me and they are fantastic! There are time they might offer you something that is not to your taste, but remember to reiterate what you are after so they can get you those perfect job opportunities.

Well there you have my experiences, I would love to hear some of your ones and how you overcame them.

Zoe

Image by Raymond Sam