What is your relationship with work like?
Our relationship with work is multifaceted and deeply personal. In a perfect world, we do work we love. We become what we wanted to be when we grew up.
The reality is many of us do not enter professions we love. We choose our work based on numerous factors such as economic concerns, access to training, education, and opportunity, seeing our race, gender, physical ability, etc. represented in a given profession, and so much more. Is it any wonder than that the statistics around workplace stress in America are so alarming? Consider these findings from the American Institute of Stress:
· 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress;
· Depression leads to $51 billion in costs due to absenteeism and $26 billion in treatment costs;
· 51% of US workers are mentally “checked out” at work.
Now more than ever, US workers are renegotiating their relationship with work. After all, much of our lives are spent in the workplace. Whether you are working in your dream job, side-hustle, gig economy, or a job that pays the bill, it is possible to have a healthy relationship with work. Here are a few ideas of how to do so:
· Set healthy boundaries. Many workers are taken advantage of by their employers. (True, some employers are taken advantage of by their employees, but the power dynamic makes the former more likely and with a greater negative impact.) People of color, women, differently-abled folks, and the LGBT+ community in particular are subjected to workplace harassment. Familiarize yourself with your workplace’s policy on dealing with such issues. If they don’t have one, that in and of itself is a red flag. Seriously consider if this job is worth the sacrifices you are making to do it.
· Do work you love… in some capacity. There is nothing wrong with having a job that pays the bills! Believe it or not, we are NOT the job we do. If our job is safe, fair, and pays us a decent wage, we can find joy no matter what we do. However, we would do ourselves a tremendous service by finding a way to share our unique gifts and talents in some way. Not every artist’s work is found in a gallery. Not every writer is published. Not every good listener needs to become a licensed therapist. Much fulfillment can be found in doing what we love as a volunteer, act of service, or best of all, for the pleasure of doing it.
· Envision what it is you do want. If you are miserable at your job, perhaps it is time for a change. If you aren’t sure what you want to do, try getting out of your head and into your heart. Search for images that represent that which brings you joy. You can print the images and paste them as a collage or create a vision board on sites like Pinterest or Canva. Examine the images. Do they have a common theme such as service, wellness, animals, cooking, etc.? Where do the images take place? Outside? In a home? Office? Studio of some sort? Are there memories associated with the images? Do they speak to you of your work or are they more focused on other aspects of your life such as your relationships or spiritual practice? What do your images have to say to you about you?
Work is an important part of our lives, but it is not ultimately who and what we are. Consider your relationship with work. Is it where you would like it to be, or could it use some tweaking?
Our relationship with work impacts our health and wellness. Yoga and aromatherapy can help us live with more creativity, enthusiasm, and joy. Would you like to learn more about how these practices can help you relieve tense and anxious feelings and cultivate more joy? I would really love to chat with you. Let’s schedule a complimentary Yoga Optimal Wellness Consultation and see if we’re a good fit! You can schedule your consultation here.