12 Ways to Feel Better in a Job You'd Rather Quit
Updated: Sep 27, 2020
It’s Monday and even though I no longer work in a job I dread going to everyday, I still remember what it was like to walk into the office after a fun weekend and within an hour, feel full of boredom and misery that only intensified as the week went on.
Being where I am today, I obviously wish I could go back and tell my old self to quit and go do something different, asap. But the old me, like many of my clients when we first start working together, had tons of perfectly great reasons (or excuses as I like to call them) for staying put.
So I know very well that you might simply just not be ready, willing or interested in entertaining the idea of leaving your job. If that’s you, here are some other things you can do to feel less miserable and bored:
1. Acknowledge and validate - It’s okay not to constantly pick yourself up out of the dumps. There are a lot of valid reasons why you’re unhappy (read about them here). Acknowledging them can release so much negative energy.
2. Reframe - After you’ve acknowledged and validated why you’re feeling miserable, then try the reframe. Try and find a new way of looking at the situation that ACTUALLY resonates, not just one that ‘sounds’ good.
3. Use your strengths - You will feel a whole lot more flow, confidence and energy if you do the things you’re good at. Identify your strengths at viacharacter.org and find opportunities to use them regularly.
4. Take frequent breaks and make the most of them - This is a no-brainer but when we’re being micromanaged, paid by the hour, or in an unhealthy workplace culture, taking your breaks and making them count can be hard to do.
It makes good sense though - you can’t concentrate or produce good work when you've been sitting too long in front of a desk. Take a break every hour for a few minutes at least - for the sake of your eyes, your physical body and your mental well being.
And make the break count - get outside (yes, even in winter!), talk to a friend, stretch and for heaven’s sake don’t scroll social media or surf the internet. That does NOT count as a break (because it doesn't fill you up!).
If you feel like you never have time to yourself, your break is your chance. I’ve heard about authors writing entire novels on their lunch breaks. If there’s a will, there’s a way. This is your time! Take it.
5. Connect with others - Most of us are lucky (or unlucky, depending on who your coworkers are) to work alongside others. And as much as you might hate the fact that it means you get interrupted, have to hear about grand kids, or listen to someone floss their teeth, it also means you don’t have to contend with loneliness, which is a real problem for people who work alone or are without family and friends. Social connection increases our well being and productivity.
6. Do things for yourself - Yes, your employer pays your salary but that doesn’t mean they own you 5 days a week. Figure out what’s important to you and what makes you feel good that you can fit into your work day (and I don’t just mean banking or scheduling your kids appointments). Maybe you join the social planning team, participate in Lunch and Learns or go to noon time yoga.
7. Unwind after work - Whether your commute is quick and simple or long and full of traffic (or involves fending off germs on a packed train), use this time for yourself. Listen to an audio book, a podcast, watch funny videos, do your knitting.
With so little time left for our own personal interests in a full-time work week, use this time for yourself. You'll feel more fulfilled overall if it's used to work towards a bigger picture goal.
If your commute is quick, consider taking an extra 10-15 minutes when you get home for yourself before you start making dinner or doing chores.
8. Practice self-compassion and self-care - I’ve written about this a lot but when you work a job that doesn’t align with your values and isn’t filling you up, it’s draining and can mimic symptoms similar to depression or burnout (check my post on spiritual burnout here).
Recognize that as a real thing and do nice things for yourself to feel better (try these 5 steps to hit RESTART when you're feeling burnt out).
9. Try some boredom hacks - I know what it’s like to feel bored 5 days a week. It sucks. And for anyone who needs that mental stimulation to feel energized, it can practically kill you. Buy a colouring book to use during conference calls, get a fidget toy for meetings, write notes to a coworker down the hall.
More importantly, recognize that if it's mental stimulation you're lacking, no distraction can change the fact that that's where the cure lies.
10. Plan your off time - In happiness research, they say that most of the good feelings from a vacation come from the anticipation of it. So give yourself something to look forward to! Plan some evening outings or a fun filled weekend to help carry you through the week. Visit this post for how to loose the 'bleh' from work so you can actually have fun on the weekend.
11. Consider what’s keeping you stuck at your job - (Try the quiz!)
Typically I hear people split work satisfaction into two categories:
1. The job itself is either fulfilling and interesting or not; and
2. The workplace environment (consisting of colleagues, bosses, flexibility, benefits, etc.) sucks.
When only one of these is off, people tend to make excuses for staying. It’s not until both are totally off that people can admit it’s probably best to look for something new.
BUT in my opinion, either #1 or #2 can be excellent reasons to leave. So I want you to think about the cost of whichever one is off separate from the other.
If your work just isn’t interesting - think about that for a minute (without bringing in “but at least I have nice coworkers” as an excuse). How willing are you to spend the rest of your life doing something you don’t love?
If the workplace environment is terrible - consider that without using the excuse of the work being something you enjoy. What is the cost of your shitty commute on your life overall?
Try NOT to let the other side speak up until you’ve really looked at the impact either side is having.
Then, try considering the potential BENEFITS of leaving, rather than just the risks.
12. Hire a vocational Coach - Okay, shameless plug here. But honestly, if I had known what a vocational coach was, what it could do for me and that it was affordable, I would’ve JUMPED.
So hop on a free mini call with me so I can tell you about why the suggestions in this blog post might get you through the next month but likely won't fix your problem and how I can help.
The solution involves my 3 step formula to getting unstuck and figuring out what you’re really meant to be doing with your life. Get it here.
Use some of that hard-earned (or boredom won) cash to get yourself UNSTUCK and LIT UP.