Stop Doing These 3 Habits to Feel Happier at Work These three common habits could be contributing to your unhappiness.
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Have you ever experienced a feeling of dread on Sunday night with the weekend coming to a close and Monday morning slowly approaching? With some well-thought-out tweaks to your routines, you can become the sort of person who not only enjoys Mondays, but also enjoys their work.
There are thousands of reasons you could be unhappy at work, but here are three common things that could be significantly contributing to your unease. Adjust these and who knows — you could become the sort of person that actually loves Mondays.
1. Constantly checking your phone
Whether it's a ding, a vibration or a fun ring tone, cell phones have more control over us than we like to admit. If you find yourself falling into the habit of checking your phone and notifications right after waking, repeatedly checking your phone throughout the workday or checking your work emails before bed, you are not alone.
While these behaviors may be common, they also could be negatively impacting your happiness. The American Psychological Association has reported findings that stress is increased in individuals who check their phone's frequently and the reported stress levels were even higher for people who frequently checked their work email on days off.
If you struggle with this, you can start with some simple yet effective habits to create healthy boundaries. By simply turning off your notifications and having your phone in a different room or area (out of sight out of mind) you can allow yourself to get into a flow state during the workday. While creating new healthier habits, pay attention to how you frame them to yourself. Instead of thinking "I can't check my phone," which will make you want to check it more, try thinking, "I will get to it at 9:00" or whatever time makes sense for your schedule.
2. Not taking regular breaks
Push through it. Grind it out. Dig deep. These are a few examples of the phrases used to encourage nonstop working to prove you are capable and dedicated. The problem is, these phrases encourage behaviors that can harm your well-being and productivity. I am acutely sensitive to the impact these phrases can have on individuals after working with many people in the healthcare sector going through burnout.
It's time for a new and more effective way to approach work and productivity, which includes taking regular micro-breaks and adding more fun into your workday. A small Microsoft study done in 2021 showed that back-to-back Zoom meetings resulted in brain wave changes associated with increased stress, reduced engagement and focus. However, when these same individuals took short 10-minute breaks between meetings to meditate, their brain's stress responses stabilized and changes in the brain associated with engagement improved.
So go ahead and permit yourself to take regular breaks during the workday to do things you enjoy. Get outside for a walk, talk with a friend, meditate, stretch, read — the list goes on. Taking time to do these things can improve your work performance and your happiness.
3. Sitting inside all day
Sitting in front of a computer all day is not doing you any favors when it comes to your mental and physical health. Kaiser Permanente released results from a 2020 study of more than 20,000 individuals showing that people who exercised more during the pandemic had lower instances of anxiety and depression. Their findings also showed that spending less time outdoors was associated with higher depression and anxiety scores.
If you find yourself inside staring at a screen most of the day, think about getting a standing desk or consider taking your calls while going for a walk. Set reminders to move your body during your regularly scheduled breaks. Get away from your phone and computer and get outside if you can. If getting outdoors isn't in the cards, make sure to take time to look out the window and get natural light exposure throughout the day.
By making some or all of these adjustments to your routines, you may find that you are enjoying your work more and more each week. Small changes can have a big impact, so don't feel like you have to hit a home run by making all of these changes at once. Just get started and let the momentum build.
Disclaimer: This content purely represents the opinion of the author and is not medical advice or treatment recommendations. Always talk to your healthcare provider about recommendations specific to you.