You get out of bed each morning to do your best at work and for your loved ones, but along the way *stuff* happens. Traffic is bad, your boss is in a mood or that work that was supposed to be done by the client is delayed…or whatever other disruptive event puts a dent in your day. Feelings of anxiety, anger or shame arise (sometimes all three in a merry-go-round from hell) and really make it hard for you to continue in your day feeling good about yourself or your work.
You need a break.
However, most of us don’t give ourselves the break we need when we are feeling ashamed, frustrated or stressed out about work; we put our head down and work harder. Ignoring your needs is a losing proposition. Here is something to think about so you remember to take a well-deserved break, allowing you more well-being at work (even on a “bad” day). It’s called H.A.L.T.
Hungry: When was the last time you ate? If you are thundering through your day on the dying fumes of the granola bar you ate at 10:30 a.m. then you are not going to be resilient when the next disruptions hits. Get something nutritious to eat, give yourself the quality fuel you deserve (which is not at the drive thru of a fast food restaurant…)
Angry: You are going to get angry at work for a variety of well-deserved reasons. You were cut-off mid-sentence in a meeting. Your idea was shot down unceremoniously by the new guy (whom you trained…), the list is endless really. If you are angry, call it and take a walk, get a coffee or sit in the “quiet” room at work to allow your emotional self to catch up to your present self. You’ll thank yourself (and you are worth it).
Lonely: It is possible to be lonely at work, in the midst of the hum and bustle you can feel abandoned (your boss missed your one-on-one), cut off (not allowed to speak freely in a meeting) or like you have been metaphorically left on a hill to die (when you don’t even remember how you got there). Find a friendly face or voice and give yourself some love.
Tired: How much sleep do you get a night? Ouch! How much sleep are you supposed to get a night. Yup, 7 to 8 hours. A night. Since most of us upstanding adults don’t get quite that much uninterrupted sleep, give yourself a break when you are tired at work, sit and do nothing for a few minutes in between tasks to rest. Commit to getting more rest a night (this is an important life skill to build). You are not yourself when you are tired…you are a walking petri dish susceptible to whatever illness is making the rounds at work (or at your kids school…). Recognize when you are tired and plan to get the rest you need before you get sick…or snap at someone.
H.A.L.T. is a great tool to give yourself permission to take a break at work...and when you can do this compassionately for yourself, you are much more likely to be able to be compassionate with others. It’s an act of kindness to understand your needs (or someone else’s) and do the right thing. “There is virtue in work an there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.’ ~ Alan Cohen
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