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November 25, 2013

Not doing these 7 things is killing you at work

By shutterstock_130377992_feat

Monday may be responsible for many sad faces and “sick days,” but let’s be real: Unless you’re singing praises of TGIF, no other day of the week feels quite as spectacular. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to boost your mood while you’re still on the clock.

Prepare for Monday on Fridays – The Bangles were right about a lot of things (hair, fashion, ancient methods of ambulation), but mostly that Mondays are manic. The first day back after a weekend is typically equal parts depression and chaos, but it doesn’t have to be. You can ensure that you start the week off on the right foot by preparing in advance. Spend the last 30 minutes of your Friday figuring out all the nitty-gritty junk you need to conquer the following week and map it out in your planner (if you don’t use a planner, start now). Not only will you spare yourself a world of stress when you’re back to the daily grind, but you’ll have an extra moment to spare on the way in. Go ahead and treat yourself to your favorite latte, you’ve earned it.

Build fun breaks into your day – Put the flask down, I don’t mean that kind of break. Of course being unemployed could be considered one, very long fun break, but if you want to keep your job think sober thoughts. Stop by your favorite coffee shop on your way to the office. When the afternoon rolls around, take a quick stroll outside or plan a lunch date with a coworker (or nearby friend). You could also run some errands, so you have more time to relax at home. Whatever you do, be sure to schedule a few small pauses into the work day before you start to feel overwhelmed.

Make lists of things to look forward to – Forget drab to-do lists or a chores lists, or even bucket lists (a.k.a. the list of unfulfilled accomplishments). Get creative, stay practical, and compile a list of things you want to accomplish over the weekend. Jot down all the things you’ve wanted to do for weeks but just never found the time. Even better, take it one step further and plan for your next vacation. Fantasizing about an upcoming escape can really help boost your mood even when everything else seems to be falling apart.

Plan something exciting for the weekend, every weekend – After a grueling long week it’s all too easy to curl up in your yoga pants and veg out in front the of the tube. The Walking Dead is back with a new season, Ted is FINALLY about to meet the mother, and of course there’s always the Food Network. Problem is, you’ve already spent enough time staring into screen all week, and your brain is going to hate you if you don’t start to give it some good old fashioned social interaction. Get something on the calendar each weekend that you actually enjoy doing. If you recharge better alone, splurge on a massage or go for a long, leisurely walk. And for goodness sake leave your phone at home (the work emails can wait until Monday)!

Catch enough z’s – Remember Fight Club? Lack of sleep leads to complete mental and emotional breakdown resulting in the rise of a quasi-fascist cult of personality bent on tearing down the Western world. So unless you want to be responsible for the complete collapse of modern civilization, perhaps you should consider using the weekend to catch up on some warm, relaxing, sleep. Invest in a sleep mask, some ear plugs and turn your cell phone off. Studies show that lack of sleep makes you a jerk, not to mention it impacts memory, and general productivity. So sleep in. Heal. Avoid making soap.

Spruce up your cubicle – Nobody likes showing up to a stark white square each morning, so take a little time to jazz up your cubicle. Create an inviting space that you actually look forward to spending half of your day in. Sometimes a few simple plants and accessories can be enough to boost your mood, but don’t be afraid to go all out either. There are several cheap and easy DIY tricks to make your cube a little less corporate and a little more you.

Talk it out – If you’re still not feeling great after making positive changes in your life, it might be time to talk to someone. While your best pals and your significant other can be great outlets, consistently dumping your work stress into your personal life can create even bigger issues. If this sounds familiar, don’t hesitate to seek out a licensed therapist. This won’t make you a crazy person, and counseling isn’t the taboo that it once was. Before your work woes become a chronic condition, do yourself a big favor and seek out a professional to get to the root problem. Psychology Today offers an extensive directory of docs all over the US.

About the Author

is a contributing editor of the Pluralsight blog. She has been a freelance writer since 2006. She deals in tech and food -- an odd combination, but it keeps her sated. You can find her on Twitter @sterrsi.