Even in the best of workplace environments, you may at times find yourself doubting your career choice, dealing with office politics, and/or wondering why you're not as far ahead as you'd like to be. During those times, it can be all too easy to internalize your negative feelings. The result is growing self-doubt and possibly even depression.
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Don't let external factors cloud your self-image or bring you down. Here are five ways to get in front of your feelings and remind yourself of all that you're capable of:
1. Be Your Own Desktop Image.
Sure, it sounds egotistical. You may be thinking, "You've got to be pretty full of yourself to set a picture of yourself as your desktop image!" But the other day, I noticed our receptionist had a larger than life photo of herself saved on her desktop, and that wasn't my thought at all. Somehow, I instantly got it. It wasn't about being boastful, it was about self-acceptance. What's so wrong with loving ourselves just a bit more, anyway?
When you're frustrated by a report you're putting together, feeling challenged by a new program you're learning, or just generally having a bad day, let your own face staring back at you serve as a reminder of all you can accomplish if you stop being so hard on yourself and start loving yourself more.
2. Detox Daily
There's no way around it: Work is stressful, and stress will deplete your energy, clarity of mind, and sense of inner peace. Find a way to recalibrate daily.
Ten minutes of morning meditation will pay off exponentially. It can boost your immune system and increase your self-confidence. When your mental clarity improves, so will your work performance and your ability to take a step back from emotions that may be clouding your judgement regarding certain situations.
Meditation isn't the only way to clear your mind or decrease stress. Taking time to exercise or walk around the block in the fresh air are great alternatives. The important thing is that you make it a priority to give yourself even just a few minutes that are all your own.
3. Get a Life
Being a workaholic may get you closer to a corner offer or a coronary – or both. Work is surely an important part of life, but you shouldn't let it consume you entirely. Outside interests and hobbies offer a great escape from the realities and obligations of daily existence. Perfect that soufflé recipe or get back to finishing that novel you started writing.
Whatever outlet you have, give your creativity a chance to get out. Some breathing room will allow you to gain perspective and a better handle on whatever challenges work throws your way.
4. Get Schooled
Taking a class in any area of interest is a great way to expand your mind and honor your continual process of growth as a thinking creature on this planet. Don't make the mistake of thinking that this needs to be work-related. Interested in French literature, foreign film, or Platonic philosophy? There's a whole world of stuff to get lost in and learn about. You'll start looking at things with fresh eyes, and when you're open to new things, you'll bring that openness to other areas of your life – including your work.
5. Stop the Negative Self-Talk
In the course of a day, I'd bet that roughly 80 percent of your thoughts are negative. You may not even be aware of all of these negative thoughts, but they can be pervasive. Quite frankly, you sometimes have to defend yourself from yourself.
Can I really take on this responsibility at work? What if I fail? Am I good enough? When you have these self-doubting thoughts, you're creating a negative thought pattern you may not necessarily be aware of. Catch yourself and try to record how many of these negative thoughts you have throughout the day. Each time you're in the middle of a negative thought, try to turn it around.
We tend to exaggerate the effects of potentially negative things on our lives and careers. Of course, catastrophic things do happen on occasion. Usually, however, these situations blindside us – they are not the small events we spend our time fretting over.
You are more resilient than you know, and worrying about things won't make them better. It just makes you worry. Remind yourself that you are capable of handling the good and the bad. You're smart, unique, and have special talents to offer. If you find it hard to keep that in mind, just look at your desktop image for a reminder.
Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing's resident career expert.