It’s Tuesday afternoon, and you just came back from a break, expecting to be reenergized. You head to your desk thinking, “Ah, that was much needed. Now let’s get back to work.” Your mind is commanding you to power through, but your body is instead slumped over your desk.
You notice this behavior is starting to turn into a continuous trend every day, and it’s becoming clear you’re mentally stuck in a rut wishing the week would just end. Although it’s normal to have bouts of sluggishness, you acknowledge the feeling isn’t great and something must be done to reverse it. Just as a lightbulb burns out periodically, we routinely require self-maintenance.
Often, taking a day off seems impossible as there’s nothing relaxing about the thought of your workload piling up. Therefore, you wait for the weekend to wind down and relax only to return to work experiencing the same frustration and mental fatigue all over again. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few tricks to try throughout the day to break out of your rut and encourage a productive work environment.
Socialize and build your network.
With your head in the books (in this age, computer), it’s easy to forget you’re surrounded by people, not just coworkers who come into the office to get things done, go home for the night and repeat. It’s important to catch a break and interact with your colleagues as it helps you engage with the world and see things from another perspective.
By the same token, seeking out other people who are similarly driven and passionate can help you expand your horizons. Not only is building your network an essential element of your career, but whoever you start forming a relationship with could benefit you in the long run personally and professionally. Ultimately, we’re all in a business and developing vital connections in the workplace will propel you through your career and help you maintain a general sense of well-being
Don’t get hung up on emotions. Accept things at face value.
Communication is vital. You can never assume someone thinks the way you do. Oftentimes, people end up misunderstood. When things aren’t clear, it leads to over analyzing. You don’t want to assume someone has hidden intentions whether it’s criticism or delegating tasks. We should all practice accepting opinions and criticism at face value. Keep an open mind, welcome all comments and prevent it from affecting you personally.
Breaks are necessary. Remember to take them.
We come across times where we need to buckle down and tackle our assignments at hand. We end up storming through our tasks to complete them before end of the day, but forget to step away for a moment. Although it may be difficult when you have your head in the game, breaks are essential to maintain productivity. In addition to catching up with your colleagues, take walks around the block and/or meditate. If you’re overwhelmingly exhausted, and find a double espresso or Irish black tea isn’t serving its purpose, power naps have been proven to help regain alertness and enhance performance.
A creative way to get yourself out of the office for an afternoon stride is to set daily step goals. There are many apps you can download to track your steps and achieve your target count. If you’re job requires you to sit all day, set a realistic goal. After all, experts recommend taking 10,000 or more steps a day.
Take a mental health day off.
Again, it’s common to feel detached and spaced-out over time. Regardless, if it gets to a point where work is beginning to consume your life and your productivity level has hit rock bottom, it’s important to take a day off. Downtime is imperative to one’s mental and physical health as it helps increase productivity and encourages creativity. While it’s not directly expressed or written boldly, your responsibilities also include your well-being. The last thing you want is for your mental fatigue to be confused with slacking off or doing a bad job.
Practicing positive workplace habits and being able to recharge your batteries will lead to high-productivity and overall happiness when you’re on the clock. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to pick up where you left off, but with more confidence and drive. So, the next time you’re down and out, or need a quick fixer upper, don’t let nagging thoughts linger, and commit to making effective changes. Remember to prioritize your well-being in the long run while achieving short-term goals, build meaningful relationships, allow yourself to take a breather when it’s needed and go back with a crisp, clear mind.
Bin Jeong is the Vice President of Business Development at SmartStudy. She oversees the growth and expansion of the company’s subsidiary, Pinkfong, a global children’s entertainment brand.
I’m Nancy F. Clark the curator of Forbes WomensMedia. I develop business and fulfillment programs for corporations. Along with my talented team, we bring you the latest research-backed information.