I love my job. Learning a new position within my department has been extremely challenging, and managing the transition during our busiest season of the year requires a ton of energy. But I get to learn a completely new skill set and continue to help people be a part of improving their community and transforming the lives of those who are homeless. I’m extremely lucky. But I’m not gonna lie, I’m also super stressed. I’ve been working Saturdays and late into the evening. I have a feeling I’m not the only one. I’m sharing some of the easy ways I try to stay sane under pressure.
1. Keep a bottle of wine or the ingredients for your favorite cocktail on hand.
I’m not saying you should get sloshed every night. This will only make you more tired and more stressed at work. I’m suggesting you set aside a moment in the evening to appreciate the ritual of pouring a glass, sitting down in a comfortable chair, putting your feet up, and sipping slowly. Savor the moment. And for goodness sake, don’t check your email.
2. Indulge in your favorite book, movie, or tv show
Now is not the time to take on a new intellectual challenge outside of work. Always wanted to read Dostoevsky? Maybe keep it on the shelf until things quiet down a bit. I find it comforting when I’m freakin’ out about work to read Harry Potter for the millionth time. Whatever makes you smile, or feels like a warm hug, go to that. Save the drab Russian literature for a calmer day.
3. Buy yourself a cheap massage or manicure on Groupon or Living Social
It may be a while before you find the time to use it, but knowing that some pampering is in your future gives you something to look forward to. Coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social always have great deals for spa treatments, massages, manicures, even boat rides. You’re working a lot, so you can afford to take care of yourself.
4. Keep track of your comp time
Even if you’re one of those lucky people who actually gets paid for all those extra hours you’re working, sometimes comp time is the way to go. I love my job, but I feel like 40 hours a week is a reasonable amount of time to devote to it. When I have to give more, I’m happy to do so, but I plan to get it back one of these days.Work/life balance is important. Just keep a little corner of a notebook or marker board where you jot down your extra time. You’re earning that day you’re going to spend on the beach reading magazines. Don’t be afraid to ask for it when things quiet down.
5. Ask for help
This is probably one of the hardest things for me to do, but contrary to what the media might tell you, you can’t have it all. At least, not without a little help. There are so many hours in the day, and not everybody has as much staff as Beyonce. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, reach out to your supervisor and coworkers to help you get through. And don’t be afraid to get some help at home, too. It will actually make everyone around you happier if you’re not running around on the verge of tears every moment. I used to think that asking for help was a sign of weakness, now I know it’s just smart.
Take care of yourselves, kids. If you want to stay awesome, you have to take it easy every now and then. Let your friends and family support you. Get a hug and a drink, take a deep breath, and keep on conquering the world.