Even if you’re stuck in a job you’re not happy with, there are ways to find bright spots and make yourself feel better while you’re at the office. Here are seven simple life changes that will make you happier at work.
Develop a structured routine
Bringing awareness and mindfulness to your day can provide a structure that reduces stress and helps you be at work mentally when you’re at work physically, says Elizabeth Wright, a Paralympic medalist and motivational speaker.
This can include a morning routine involving some kind of exercise, such as a morning run, yoga session or swim at the pool. It also means preparing the night before, so you don't have to start the day stressed by having to pack lunches and look for clean clothes. Finally, put together a time management plan to avoid procrastination, Wright says.
Become a mentor
If you have experience in your field, mentoring junior employees can increase your job satisfaction, says Cheryl E. Palmer, owner of Call to Career. “There is fulfillment in helping others, and mentoring other employees can make your time at your current job more enjoyable.”
Join a committee
Doing more at work will increase your visibility at the organization and help you make contributions outside of your department, Palmer says. “Many large companies have committees to review processes or improve employee retention. Joining such a committee can expose you to other people in a large organization that you might not otherwise meet and can open the door for future job opportunities.”
Change your mindset
Instead of seeing each day as work, view it instead as an investment in your career, advises Kenneth Johnson, president of East Coast Executives. “The time spent at work should be viewed as a deposit toward the advancement of personal career goals.” If you approach your job as something that will help your personal development, you’re more likely to seek more responsibility and pursue training.
Seek out opportunities to give back
Chances are your employer has a community service program you can get involved in, Palmer says. “Use that as an opportunity to do something good for someone else and get away from your workplace for a few hours a week.” Doing so can take your mind off any troubles and also lend a helping hand to someone else.
“Community service programs can also have the added benefit of positioning you for future opportunities if you take on volunteer work that will give you skills in a different area,” she says.
Switch things up
Even though setting a routine can help you focus, after a while it can make you feel like you’re in a grind, so career coach Chris Delaney suggests changing your morning commute for a new perspective. “Your morning routine will set you up for a win or fail in work.” Leaving early to stop for breakfast or even simply taking a different route can remind you of a bigger world outside of work and help you recharge.
If your company offers tuition reimbursement, take advantage of it. Find classes that may enhance your resume, Palmer says. Certifications or advanced degrees can help your marketability, and help you build your own confidence and skills.