by Jen Arnold, MS, RD/LDN
Wellness includes other dimensions outside of physical health (eating, exercise, etc.) that all play into your day to day well-being. Being physically healthy is of vital importance but many workers are emotionally drained, mentally tapped out and have stagnated in their growth at work. When we are feeling drained, we tend to fall into habits that are comfortable, causing us to remain status quo.
Status quo is the enemy of high performance. High performers find ways to grow and stretch themselves and take accountability for their personal growth. If you find that you’re living your work life in status quo mode, here are some steps to get out of a rut and increase your performance.
Express Gratitude. There are a range of benefits associated with expressing gratitude, including sleeping better, improving happiness and reducing depression, exercising more, reporting less pain and just a better overall mood. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being.
So what does expressing gratitude mean? It can be a 5 minute journaling exercise at the end of the day right before bed (possible better sleep) or it can happen in the morning before you start your day. It’s all in what works for you. Great tips for expressing gratitude can be found here.
Reach out to a new person at work. It can be scary to reach out to a stranger and ask them to have coffee and a quick chat. On the flip side, I love when fellow employees reach out to me to learn more about what I do.
Meeting someone informally gives me the opportunity to make a new contact and learn more about their perspective. It’s especially helpful to meet someone to vet for future hiring or collaboration. These meetings give us both a chance to learn about one another without asking for something specific. Expanding your professional network can be valuable in the long run and it’s almost never a waste of time
Watch who you’re hanging out with at work. We tend to find social circles at work and stick to them regardless if they are working for us. Are your work friends people you would actually want to hang out with outside of work? Are most of your conversations about how much you hate (fill in the blank here)? Do they have healthy habits?
If your group of friends spends most of their time eating lunch at fast food places or complaining about work over after hour drinks, you may want to find a new social outlet at work. Perhaps you want to keep the friends but steer them towards healthy habits. See if they want to go for a quick walk at lunch or bring lunches from home instead of going out to eat.
Try driving a new way to work. Have you ever driven to work and not remembered any of it? We tend to have a regular schedule we follow each day that puts us into auto drive (no pun intended). Even if you just take another route, it can make your brain wake up and take notice. Instead of cruising on auto pilot, perhaps the day will lead to a new creative idea or a fresh perspective.
Learn on your commute. I have a 45 minute (sometimes an hour) commute to work. It’s really terrible because where I work and live aren’t close to each other. To get some relief, I pass the time by listening to podcasts. This allows me to learn something new on my drive and pass the time without getting irritated at the traffic I know will be waiting for me every day.
Stretch yourself. When’s the last time you proactively stretched yourself at work? This means you did something that made you uncomfortable but knew was good for you. If you are a type A overachiever you may stretch yourself every day but most of us tend to go about our jobs as they are created.
You may have opportunities to informally lead, deliver a presentation, or work on a new project in a different department. Brainstorm areas of your company you want to explore or experiences you may want to have. Set up a meeting with someone to find out if there are any pain points you can help solve. Take your career in your hands with a challenge that will grow your experience and skills.
If you are in a work rut but plan to keep your job for awhile, don’t live your life on auto pilot. Invest your energy into growing other dimensions of wellness to contribute to an overall healthier state of well-being.
About the author
Jen Arnold advises employers on how to build a culture of wellness that enhances the health of their employees. She has over 11 years of experience in the worksite wellness field and is a Registered Dietitian by training. Jen lives in Raleigh, NC USA with her husband, son and dog..