5 Career Activities to Fight the Blues

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The Wall Street Journal posted this video about why Americans are so unhappy in spite of the economy improving. The top five reasons were:
  • We work too much in jobs we don't find satisfying.
  • Wages aren't rising so we can't save for retirement.
  • The lifestyles of the rich and famous on social media make us depressed.
  • Stressful life events in the last year create lingering sadness.
  • We aren't healthy and eat to feel better, making us even unhealthier.
If you can relate to one or more of the above, then you might be fighting the blues.

Career Activities Can Boost Your Happiness!

Most of us spend one third of our day at the office, five days each week. Our jobs affect our lives deeply. This means that activities associated with our career could be one of the most plausible ways for you to feel better. Here are some suggestions to help you:

1) Take your vacation. Studies show many of us don't take our vacation days for fear we'll get behind or be seen as replaceable. But we need that time off to recharge. More importantly, living in a highly connected world, we need to practice and become effective at unplugging so we can manage our stress better. Your work will be there when you get back -- and at least you can tackle it with a rested perspective.2) Ask if you can run monthly 'lunch 'n learns' at the office on timely topics. See if your company will let you bring in local experts for free to present on topics to help you feel happier in life. For example, if you can't get a raise, you can seek expert advice from a financial planner on other ways you can put money aside. You and your co-workers can get inspired and learn lots of new things to help you feel better about life.

3) Get off social media! Numerous studies show that excessive time on social media makes us feel bad about ourselves. Stop the insanity! Put down the phone and read a book, talk a walk, spend time with friends. It's so easy to get caught up in the digital world, when the real world is the one that can bring us more joy.

4) Ask to coordinate an office charity event. Nothing puts our own lives in better perspective than helping the less fortunate. Getting your co-workers involved will help you all bond and have an enjoyable experience that can help everyone's stress level.

5) Coordinate a daily office walk. Get your team out for a brisk walk several times a week as a way to burn calories, boost moods, and create stronger professional bonds. The light exercise will stimulate your brains and help to avoid grabbing unhealthy food choices. Plus, it's a great stress relief that will (hopefully) carry over to when you get home so you can continue to make good food choices.

Don't Play the 'Blame Game' - It's Up to Us to Find Ways to Be Happier

I realize the above won't immediately solve the blues, but at least these ideas can get you thinking of ways to take control of your happiness. Blaming others won't fix it, and procrastinating won't solve it either. If we want to be happier, we have to try new things and hope one or more will improve our situation.

NOTE: Sometimes it's more than just a case of the blues. It's important to know that if the depression is overwhelming, we need to get professional help. If your efforts to get over the blues aren't working after a few months, please reach out to someone who can assist you. Don't let it linger - it's okay to get help. Being happy is important. You can only help others if you help yourself!
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