Combating Workday Blues

Suffering from a case of the Mondays? (Or Tuesdays or Wednesdays?) We’ve all experienced the misery of being bummed out and stuck at work. It’s difficult to focus, you’re irritable, and the more you check the clock, the slower that minute hand seems to be moving. It sucks. Luckily, there are a few simple ways that you can cheer yourself up and power through the rest of the day.

Smile. Even if you don’t want to. The simple act of smiling activates the release of neuropeptides in your brain that work toward fighting off stress. Smiling also releases dopamine, endorphins and serotonin into the blood. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Need help finding something to smile about? Bite down sideways on a pen (like this http://tinyurl.com/9cwwn9w) and hold it in your mouth for 10-15 minutes.

Make a schedule and stick to it. Keeping yourself organized and occupied throughout the day will keep you from ruminating about other things and the time will fly by. Don’t forget to schedule things that are fun and relaxing. This will give you something to look forward to throughout the day.

Get some sun. Studies have shown that sunlight has widespread mood-elevating effects and psychiatrists recommend that people suffering from depression and seasonal affective disorder get 30 minutes of sun a day. Not able to get outside? Try a light lamp! Light lamps simulate natural spectrum daylight which has been shown to improve mood, energy, and concentration. Blue light therapy in particular, simulates the color of a clear sky, which triggers the light/dark receptors in our eyes and the release of chemicals that make us feel active and energetic. The best reviews I’ve seen so far are for the Philips goLITE BLU Plus HF3332.

Be mindful. Mindfulness is a Buddhist practice that involves focusing on the present moment and is great for stress management. A way to get started is to increase awareness by focusing on your breathing, posture, and body language. It also involves focusing on the present task and not getting distracted by your surroundings. See last week’s blog “Mindfulness at Work” for more information about how you can incorporate mindfulness into your job.

There are lots of techniques you can try to boost your mood at work. The trick is finding out which one works best for you. However, if you find that your workday blues are turning into work-week and work-month blues, I would recommend exploring the root cause and asking yourself if your current job is right for you.