5 Things I Do To Stay Sane At Work

In case I haven’t harped on about it enough, its not been two solid months since I properly started my new job, and its safe to say that I am so much happier since then. But while I love being the person who doesn’t dread going to work every day, I’m still normal in the sense that there are places I’d rather be, and sometimes I do feel that little ‘is it 5pm/Friday yet?’ twinge every now and then.

I found it very strange transitioning from a retail environment to a call centre around 18 months ago, but having now transitioned away from a customer facing role into a standard office-y type job, again I’ve been thrown a little out of my comfort zone and having to adapt to a different working style, but I’ve come to learn that there are a few little tricks and tips that I do at work to keep me a little more sane, and many of these can translate to most work environments.

Don’t eat lunch at your desk

I used to spend at least half of my lunch break sitting at my desk, and even though I wasn’t working and my screen was locked, I still always found that there was a little niggle in the back of my head reminding me of whatever work needed doing, and so I’d spend my time thinking or stressing about getting back to work. Now, even if its just going down the corridor to our little vending machine area to sit with my lunch, I won’t spend my lunch time at my desk.

Stay active and step away from your screen

If you work in an office, you probably spend at least 90% of your working day sat down and staring at a screen – I don’t need to tell you that its not great for your posture or your eyes. As a Fitbit user, I have a little goal set on my Charge 2 to get in at least 250 steps every hour, so I always make sure that I’m moving around a bit, whether that’s going to the printer on the other side of the office instead of the closest one, going to fill up my mug with water, or taking a trip to a different floor to go to the toilet. I also like to get out of the office completely on my lunch break, even if its just to walk to the shops across the road or go and sit on the grass outside in the summer.

Spread some positivity

So many people find their work a little dull or maybe a little stressful, and its easy for negativity to spread in a working environment, especially when everyone’s feeling under pressure, so I try to be a little extra sunny on those days. I’m the newest person in my department, so I probably don’t understand some of the strains that other people are under with deadlines and targets etc, so I like to use that motivation to cheer others up. I wish everyone a cheery ‘good morning’ when I come in or see them for the first time that day, I make little jokes with people and have a chat at the photocopier; its the little things that can brighten someone else’s day and I feel so much better for it too.

Wear something cute

This probably sounds like the silliest thing but whenever I need a little push to feel more better about the day ahead, I always find myself reaching into my wardrobe for something special. Sometimes this means I’ll wear something quirkier like my Mickey Mouse blouse or galaxy print Black Milk shorties, and other times I’ll go for something a bit fancy like a nicer-than-everyday dress or the blazer that makes me feel all kinds of girl-boss-like, and it sets me up for the day, plus every time I catch my reflection in the mirror or a window, I get a little boost.

Work the right number of hours

Its so easy when there’s a lot of work to do to end up staying late, or cutting lunch short, but whenever I do find myself putting in more hours than I’m getting paid for, I always make sure I give myself the time back when I can, and this is a lot easier now I don’t clock in and out on shifts! On two occasions last week I ended up staying 15-20 mins late to finish up a few things, so on Friday I pushed myself to get things done a little quicker and left 20 mins early to have a good start to my weekend. I appreciate this isn’t something that everyone can do, but its the first time I’ve ever been able to do this in my working life and I’m taking advantage of it.

Do you do anything in particular to keep your head above at work?

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On Why Finally Putting Myself First

One of my main New Year’s resolutions for this year was to put myself first more often, and while I did put that into practice a little bit in January, now I’m really ready to commit to this, and myself.

I’ve always been the person that picked up the extra shifts that needed covering because someone else was sick, or that stayed late dealing with a customer while others ran for the door. You see, I have this awful affliction where I find it almost impossible to say the word ‘no’, and the thought of letting someone down just seemed impossible to me. Now there’s nothing wrong with being a good, reliable person, but the problem for me is that after years and years of doing it, its starting to take its toll.

Despite having started my new job, which I absolutely love, over 2 months ago now, I’ve still been doing overtime in my old position to try and earn a few extra pennies to put towards various things this year. It always seems like a good idea at the time, but in reality I end up getting super stressed out and over the last few months this stress has actually led to me being fairly unwell – in fact, I’ve been off work twice already this year due to illness which is just so unlike me. So on Saturday, I finally finished the last of the overtime I’ve pledged, and while I’ll no doubt miss the extra cash landing in my bank account each month, I think this is going to be so much better for me. I went from working 12 hour days in my old job, to going back to normal 9-5 hours in my new job but still doing overtime in between, and now I’m ready to just work normal hours, in a job that I actually like getting up for.

Ultimately, I know that I need to work on my health and my happiness. The migraines that I suffer with have been becoming more frequent over the last month or so, I keep getting coldsores, and I’ve also been battling somewhat silently with some body image issues that have been really getting to me as well. Now I have more time on my hands, I can not only get myself feeling better physically but also mentally and I think this is going to be so good for me.

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Why I Can Never Enjoy ‘Down Time’

I love keeping busy. This is handy, because I pretty much always am.

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day..

I have a full time job, but I only actually work 3 days most weeks, opting for 12 hours shifts over a regular 9-5, and this gives me quite a few days off in the week, which is great, right?

To the untrained eye, yes, but as well as my job, I also publish 5-6 new blog posts a week here, as well as running two small businesses on my own, both of which involve designing and creating the products that I sell, so my days off are dedicated to those commitments first and foremost.

Any blogger reading this knows exactly how much time and effort goes into blogging. A single post can take hours to make perfect, from the writing to photography and editing, and even when the post is live, then comes the promotion. In fact, I reckon its not inaccurate to say that probably 50% of a bloggers work is done on social media, rather than in the actual writing. There’s the tweet scheduling, Instagram posts, flatlays, PR emails, networking in the community and so much more.

Then comes the small business work. I have stock and supplies to order and products to design and create, then there’s packaging and post offices runs to go on, and again all the promotion work that goes alongside it all.

Great things take time..

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do but it can be exhausting. I often feel like my work is never done, or there’s more I should be doing, so if I ever take time out for myself, I end up feeling guilty, or feel like I’m forgetting something important. For this very reason I feel like a lie-in is a waste of time, I can’t just sit and do nothing and if for whatever reason I can’t get any work done – hello creative blocks.. – I end up feeling guilty and stressed.

I know that this probably isn’t healthy, and I’m trying to work on it, but I just really want to be successful in the things that I do, and for me success comes from hard work. I don’t expect things to just be handed to me, and I’m more than happy to work for what I want and I just hate wasting time..

Does anyone else suffer from this problem, or have done in the past?

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Why I Take Time Off From My Fitbit

In one form or another, I’ve been using Fitbits on and off for the last 4 years. I started off in 2013 with a Zip, which then had to be replaced with another Zip following an incident with the washing machine, and then when the second Zip met the same untimely demise, I went a little while without, until last year I upgraded to a higher spec device: the Charge 2.

I’ve always loved using Fitbits. I love being able to track my activity but I also find them so motivating as I’m forever wanting to hit my daily goals and targets, plus being able to log all my workouts as well as track my runs via GPS mean that I have everything I need to know in one place. I check my stats religiously, which is why sometimes I need to take time off.

Sure, its amazing when you sync your device at the end of the day and you’ve got that little green circle around all of your targets, but what about when you don’t? Sometimes its not always possible to hit every goal, you’re only human after all, but I often struggle with the disappointment if I’ve had a particularly bad day or week, and sometimes I can be a little obsessive – I’ve been known to spend 10-20 minutes walking round my bedroom in the evening because I’m only 500 steps away from my daily target and I don’t want to go to bed until I’ve hit it, and that’s not always healthy.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been struggling with a back injury; I had to take some time off work and could hardly move, let alone get to the gym, and that on its own really gets me down, so the last thing I need is something on my wrist to remind me that I’ve only done 150 steps all day and am at the bottom of the leaderboard of all my friends. Whenever I get an injury, one of the first things I do is take off my Fitbit, because I want to concentrate on getting better and healing, and not pushing myself too hard just because I feel obliged to.

I know I’ll always go back. Keeping fit and active makes me so happy, and my Fitbit is a daily reminder of that, but keeping a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body, and I always want to make sure that comes first.

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Why Destroying Mental Health Stigma Matters

In recent years, its safe to say that mental health has become a much more talked about topic. People are being more open, battling the stigma, and great change is being made.

I think its amazing. Every day I see people on Twitter talking openly about their conditions and better still, the world is accepting them for it. Because why shouldn’t we?

Cos here’s the thing about mental health: we all have it. SHOCK HORROR. You don’t have to have a heart condition to be conscious of what you do to look after it, right? So why should you be thinking any differently about your brain?

I’m lucky enough to have never been diagnosed with a mental health condition, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days, in the same way that even though I don’t have a lunch problem, it doesn’t mean I never get out of breath. We need to stop thinking that just because we don’t have a problem, we aren’t at risk of bad health. I don’t suffer from an anxiety disorder, but I do often get very anxious which can lead to lack of sleep or random outbursts of sobbing.

The brain is not only an organ like the heart, lungs or stomach, but it is the control centre for our entire body. You’re damn right it needs looking after and taking care of. It might not product blood or vomit when its in a bad condition, but the effects can be incredibly harmful if not taking seriously. Take stress for example – stress on a particular body part can lead to a fracture, which is seen as bad, right? Stress can lead to the failure of the immune system. But if someone tells you they’re stressed over something, you tell them to calm down and get over it. NO.

If you have a brain in your body, then mental health should matter to you. Take it seriously.

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