Thirty-days of Positivity: Building Resilience

Three strategies on how to create resilience at work to build a more positive working environment and to enjoy the work you do.

My challenge of being more positive at work for four weeks is complete. If you are new to this blog, check out the beginning of the challenge here. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is about self-care. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically is the foundation.

Creating rituals, finding resilience, and cutting yourself some slack are all different strategies. Learn how to take care of your body and mind. This post will give you a few strategies and ideas on how to change your mindset and set you up for having a positive work-life.

1. Create and Stick to a Morning Routine

It doesn’t matter how much time you have before work, come up with some sort of ritual that gets your mind ready for the day ahead.

There are two parts to this strategy: before work and your first few minutes once you arrive to work. Both are important for you to keep your mind clear, your body healthy, and your sanity intact. 

Before work, depending on your schedule, create a ritual that wakes you up and gets you ready for the day.

The hand under the blanket extends to the alarm clock in the morning, with light orange.
The hand under the blanket extends to the alarm clock in the morning, with light orange.
Here are some pre-work examples
  • If you only have 15 minutes maybe it is writing your to-do list down while sipping coffee.
  • For a 30-minute routine add few yoga poses,
  • Maybe if you have more time than that put in a full work out, plan your food for the day, and relax with some reading time before dashing off to work.

Once again it is all dependent on your schedule. Less is going to be feasible if you have kids or if you are working really early in the morning. For instance, I work the second shift, so every store or office is closed when I get off. I have to make sure I get everything for the whole day done before I get to work.

My routine fits in between the chores that I know I have to do. I usually wake up around 8 am and head straight to the coffee pot. While I’m waiting for the coffee I finish cleaning any dishes that are left behind. As soon as the coffee is ready I open up my laptop to do 30 minutes writing. I then get a 30-minute work out in on my exercise bike. As I’m cooling down from my work out I do my house chores and get ready for work.

This is what works for me right now. When my husband and I begin to grow our family, we will need to alter our routines.

Morning routine for when you arrive at work

The other part of this is your first few minutes at work. You need to assess your needs for this to be beneficial. Are you a person that as soon as you walk in the door it’s go time? Or are you a person that needs a few minutes to clear your mind before jumping into a project?

Once you understand your own needs make a routine that is tailored to this. One of the most important parts to this is communicating this to the people around you. Let people know your needs and let them know when you are most productive and ready for new assignments.

I have a short routine because I am rated based on the amount I produce every day. Arriving 10 minutes early allows me to get a cup of coffee, fill my water, and turn on my computer. Sometimes I say a quick hello to my coworkers but I don’t ask about weekend plans or anything social yet. I save those conversations for later on because my brain is most focused during the first half of my shift, and I need to preserve that for my work.

2. Create a Reward System

Find something that will be a reward for your resilience through problems and common frustrations at work.

There are certain problems and issues at work that are predictable.

Here are some examples of predictable problems at work:
  • Every Monday your coworker comes in super late and only wants to socialize.
  • Your supervisor refuses to read emails and often missed deadlines because of it.
  • You are working on a computer system that is so old that it usually crashes about 5 hours into your shift. This destroys your flow and makes your production come to a screeching halt.

These are repeated frustrations at work that are usually unavoidable or aren’t drastic enough to do anything about them from higher management. But if you know these things are coming it can affect your mood coming into work. On the drive in you might start thinking about all the predictable annoyances you will have to deal with. 

Woman doing a final yoga pose watching the sun rise above the mountain.
Woman doing a final yoga pose watching the sunrise above the mountain.
Create a reward system for yourself. Here are some examples:
  • Snack on a chocolate bar or tasty snack for every three computer problems you encounter.
  • For every email that your supervisor misses, think about a new book you are going to enjoy on the weekend.
  • Take a 10-minute walk for every three times your coworker interrupts your work with an irrelevant story.

Whatever it is to get your mind off of the current issue will help you relax and make you enjoy that reward just s a little bit more because you deserved it.

The idea here is finding something that will get you through a small part of your work that you dislike. It is a way to be resilient.

3. Acknowledge your Worth

You are more than your job. Remember that, and make sure others also remember that.

You need to remember to cut yourself some slack. You are great at your job, otherwise, you wouldn’t be worried about your happiness at work. Your are resilient but sometimes work just gets you down. This is an important time for you to acknowledge your strengths not as an employee but as a human being.

Check out this motivating article by the Huffington Post on why You are More Than Your Job.

Like I said before, I work in a production-type job and it can be easy to feel like a machine. Sometimes it’s as if management only cares so much about your production, and they start confusing your worth as a human and as a producer. This is dangerous. It is unhealthy. It can destroy your self-esteem and make you feel miserable at work.

Steps to finding your self-worth
  1. First, you need to make a list of your accomplishments in your current position (also helps with your resume) and
  2. Make a list beside the first of all your strengths.
    1. Did you put together a great presentation?
    2. Are you a great team-player? Write it all down.
  3. Set those two lists aside and write down the things that make you happy.
    1. What brings you joy? Are you a runner? A writer? An artist? A reader? Write it all down.
  4. Post this in your office as a reminder to yourself.

When your job starts to feel like a factory or if you don’t feel appreciated as a human being that means one of two things. Either you need to look for ways to change the environment at your work, or unfortunately, you need to find a new job. And you can use that list to find that perfect fit for you or to help to add a bit of the human-needs into your work.

If you want to reshape your workplace, start small with activities during breaks or with just challenging yourself to greet every person you see in the hallway with their name. Ask if people need help with their work and volunteer to work with teammates on an upcoming project. Go on walks with people during your breaks.

These are just a few strategies that I have started to use at work to make a positive working environment. You have to take care of your mental and physical health if you want to enjoy anything in life, and that especially goes for your work life. 

How do you deal with negativity at work? What do you do to build resilience? Let us know in the comments!