Finding Joy at Work

Job security is not what it was in December of 2019. In particular, young professionals face even less job security because they have less experience in their roles, often have fewer skills than their counterparts, and haven’t built strong, long-term relationships. For young pros and many business professionals, the next three to six months will be harrowing as they grapple with their employment’s depressing uncertainty.

With the holidays upon us, workers feel even more pressure to stay employed and continue to provide financially. This pressure (which already existed before the Coronavirus Pandemic) can make it hard to find the joy of holidays past. Here are a few ways young professionals, and workers in general, can find some joy during a stressful time:

Make a list: No, not a Christmas list (unless you like writing those). Make a to-do list. Lists can bring clarity and stress-relief to our busy and overwhelmed minds. Humans have a remarkable tendency to overthink and exaggerate things, but sometimes we end up finding that what we were dwelling on was not a problem at all. Lists can help you get a good grip on what you need to do, your priorities, and how much time you have to accomplish them. While this may not seem like it would bring joy, the mental clarity of list-making can release stress and drastically change your mood, allowing you to embrace the holidays that much more.

Talk to people: While the dynamic of interacting with coworkers in a business setting has changed, if you can talk to people in your office or workplace, you should. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your work and dwell on your problems. Talking to people (safely) about your problems is the oldest (and most affordable) form of therapy. You can also do this by checking in with someone through a zoom meeting, a phone call, or text message. It’s remarkable how relieving it is to talk about things.

Don’t forget to treat yourself too: It’s the holidays, so you can give yourself a little grace on that diet. Buy a peppermint latte instead of an americano. Have a few Christmas cookies if someone brought them into work. Hang some lights in your office. Put up a little Christmas tree. Bring your favorite holiday mug to the office. Wear your slippers and PJs to work (okay, maybe not that). The point is to do small things that make you happy.

At the end of the day, things will get better, and we’ll get through this. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Lord of the Rings by Sam Gamgee. I hope you take the time to read it.

“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights, we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness, and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it’ll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo…and it’s worth fighting for.”

Happy Holidays.

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