We spend most of our time at work. And the Coronavirus pandemic has now disrupted what that looks like. Some people are working from home. Others are essential workers on the front lines of the crisis. Many have lost their jobs or freelance contracts. One thing is for sure: The concept of workplace wellbeing is taking on a whole new meaning. And perspective changes can help.
Famous psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl, who wrote the book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” said: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” As we face fear and uncertainty in our lives and careers and adjust to a new normal, we can aim to change our outlook to find more happiness in our current work (or lack of work) situation.
The first step to doing that is developing self-awareness. “It’s time to tune into what’s really going on inside. By acknowledging the thoughts and feelings that are coming up for you throughout the day, you can zone in on the things that are or aren’t working for you,” says career and life coach Melanie Walkty. “Try to get more out of your current work situation by noticing and tracking where your energy goes each day, what comes to you easily and what may be a challenge.”
Ready to look within and embrace a more positive mindset? Here are six powerful perspective shifts that will make you happier at work — even right now.
There is no failure — only feedback.
You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control your reactions. And what may look like a career failure at first glance may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. So when life throws you a curveball, look for hidden insights and opportunities. And never stop focusing on learning and growing. “Take stock of the skills you’re using, and the ones that you’re having to learn. Think about problems you can solve and systems that can be made more efficient,” says Walkty.
Your current situation is preparing you for the next big thing.
Feeling stuck and frustrated? Think back to your last career opportunity, and the one before that. Notice the way different pieces fell into place for you. For an instant dose of empowerment, Walkty recommends taking stock of how far you’ve come in your job and your career and asking yourself the following questions:
- What accomplishments am I most proud of in my career?
- What is the most important lesson I have learned in this job?
- What challenges have I overcome in this job?
- What have I learned about myself in this job?
- What is the best compliment I received from my boss and/or colleagues?
- What advice would I give my last-year self?
There is gratitude to be found every day.
“A simple, daily gratitude practice can go a long way in changing your attitude about work, creating more positive emotions, reducing your stress levels, as well as increasing satisfaction with your job,” says Walkty. Here are a few of her favorite morning and evening gratitude prompts:
- What aspects of my job am I grateful for? (every day)
- What would make today great? (before work)
- What are the three amazing things that happened today? (after work)
- How could I have made today even better? (after work)
Confusion can become a curiosity.
Confusion can be a catalyst for change. So if you’re feeling confused about your current work situation, use it as a chance to reflect. Follow the trail of your unanswered questions to get clarity. “Get to know yourself better. Reflect on your values, interests, strengths and skills and how they relate to meaningful work and the life you want to lead,” says Walkty.
“Conduct informational interviews with people who are in roles that inspire you. Find out what they did to get to where they are. Gain insider information that will help you make decisions about your next career move.”
Once you have a bit more clarity, Walkty recommends following your curiosity by experimenting with an idea you have for a project or side hustle.
Letting go doesn’t mean you don’t care.
Are you so passionate about what you do that you have trouble disconnecting? Do you ruminate for hours over unforeseen, uncontrollable events at work? Remember that letting go of things you can’t control doesn’t mean you don’t care.
“Obsessing about work issues that are out of your control and living under constant stress is harmful to your health and the quality of your work. Learn to let go of these negative thoughts and emotions through tools such as meditation, breathing or visualization so that you can free yourself from the heaviness, focus on the task at hand and get the peace of mind you deserve,” says Walkty.
Rest can take on the form of energizing activities.
There are days when all you need is an evening on the couch watching your favorite Netflix show. But there are also more active ways to recharge. And doing things like mindlessly scrolling on social media can be more destructive than regenerating. Aim to regularly engage in activities that lift your spirits and you’ll feel happier about work.
“Schedule more time for the activities that energize you and stay away from those that drain you. Go for a walk over lunch, listen to your favorite podcast, read a chapter of an inspiring book or watch a short video that makes you laugh. Surround yourself with those who lift you up and inspire you.”