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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Cohen

Be Happier at Work: Evaluate These 7 Parts of Your Life

Feeling not-so-great at work? It turns out your dissatisfaction could be a symptom of a greater problem.

I’ve been in this position. So many of us have. And before you jump ship, so to speak, I think it’s important that you look at the big picture. That you assess all the different parts of your life before you make a major decision.

And so, I urge you to consider how well you’re taking care of yourself—how well you’re meeting your deeper needs, if you will—and make changes accordingly.

Who knows? You may find your work performance and job satisfaction improve as a result of this check-in. So, evaluate these seven areas of your life for insights into what might be hindering your progress:

1. Diet

This one’s a given, but far too many of us fail to acknowledge the impact of diet on our overall well-being.

Now, note that I’m not just talking about eating a balanced diet with fresh produce, adequate protein, and healthy fats (although these macronutrients are important). And I’m certainly not going to tell you what to eat beyond the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

What I am going to do is suggest you pay close attention to how your current diet makes you feel. I’m also going to recommend you pay attention to when you’re hungry.

Ultimately, diet can have a huge impact on how we feel. I, personally, have lost count of the number of days I’ve forgotten to eat lunch, only to spend my afternoon feeling frustrated and fatigued. Awareness is the first step in making meaningful changes.

Considering a significant dietary change yourself? Be sure to contact your doctor for guidance.

2. Sleep

Wondering why you’ve been feeling restless or unhappy lately? You might look into how much sleep you’ve been getting.

The CDC recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 get at least seven hours of shuteye per night. And while the exact amount of rest we need may vary, there’s no question lack of sleep can have a significant effect on our mood.

So, start to be more mindful of your sleep duration and quality. You might even start journaling each day, and writing short entries featuring the amount of rest you got along with how you feel. Be sure to take note of any patterns you see.

And again, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you feel something serious may be affecting your sleep.

3. Physical Activity

A sedentary lifestyle can have dire effects on our health and happiness.

And for those of us who don’t get much physical activity during the workday, it’s easy to let exercise fall to the wayside.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. You can become more active and strengthen your connection with the outdoors by acknowledging how important it is to make the time for physical activity.

The CDC reveals that all we need is just 150 minutes of weekly exercise. That’s an extremely feasible 30 minutes of aerobic activity and muscle strengthening just five days per week.

So, get moving—and consider the types of activities that you’ll be most likely to stick with in the long term. Running, hiking, yoga, and cycling are appealing options for people who are looking to increase their physical activity and connect with the outdoors in a consistent way.

Note: Experts also suggest we avoid staying seated for long periods of time during the day. You might want to prioritize sitting less and standing or stretching more for added benefits.

4. Interpersonal Relationships

How isolated are you feeling—both at work and at home?

Though some of us prefer to retreat in stressful times, putting our personal and professional relationships on the backburner can actually worsen our anxiety and hinder our job satisfaction.

So what can you do? Sit down for a meal with your significant other, prioritize weekly check-ins with your colleagues, and schedule regular coffee dates (post-COVID-19) or video calls with friends to keep your social life in check.

Really, there’s so much we can learn from our relationships and later apply to our work. Healthier communication, stronger empathy, better conflict resolution—these benefits are just the beginning. Plus, with a handful of fulfilling interpersonal relationships, any problems that come up at work will seem less dire.

5. Self-Care

We’re all familiar with the concept of the “daily grind.”

Many of us also know a thing or two about “self-care”—and while some roll their eyes at this oft-used phrase, it’s important. It’s especially important when it comes to managing the old daily grind and making sure we take time for ourselves when we’re off the clock.

So whether it’s pursuing a creative hobby like cooking or painting, or indulging in a warm bath or a quick meditation session or even a good book, it’s vital that we make time for self-care each day.

So, I’ll leave you with this: Don’t overlook the importance of recharging your batteries. Even Bill Gates—who’s made a habit of reading about 50 books per year—is onboard. (In 2017, the tech billionaire told Time Magazine that reading is “absolutely” paramount to success.)

6. Technology Use

Could your technology use be getting in the way of your life?

While many of us have no choice but to gaze at screens during the workday, we can limit the amount of time we spend on our devices after hours.

Now, you don’t need to turn off your phone the second you wrap up work. You don’t have to, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers sang in 2002, “Throw Away Your Television.” You can, however, limit your social media use and only check your email at designated times each day.

By managing your information consumption—by resisting the urge to check Instagram or Twitter or the news like clockwork—you can be more present in your life and better-equipped to cope with any distractions that come up.

Added bonus: Chances are you’ll also feel more rested and experience a welcome productivity boost by being mindful of the amount of time you spend on your devices.

7. Service to Others

You may be familiar with the stereotype of the parent who forces their teen to volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter for the sole purpose of beefing up their resume or college application.

This is not the type of service I’m referring to. Rather, I’d like to emphasize the fact that by serving others in a way we find personally meaningful, we can gain a greater sense of purpose.

So, figure out what will be most authentic to you.

If you love dogs, you may decide to volunteer at an animal shelter. If you work in the legal field, and you’re passionate about low-income tenants’ rights, you may choose to take on a monthly pro-bono client.

What’s more, if you love writing or theater, you might look into getting involved in programs for youth in need. Some jails even offer teaching opportunities that help to reduce recidivism.

Do you have suggestions of your own you’d like to share? Please leave them in a comment below. And please don’t hesitate to connect with us here at Umbrella Security Services for more information on what we do.

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