Returning to work during a pandemic is stressful. How can we find joy in all the uncertainty? I'm sharing my plan to be awesome in spite of it all.
I've returned to work this week. After 20 weeks of working from home, just me and my husband and our animals in the house, suddenly I'm in a building with over 800 people. After 20 weeks of mostly talking to myself, suddenly I have to spend seven hours a day talking to teenager after teenager, giving them all my energy and attention. My socialising muscles have atrophied. I'm completely exhausted.
I had a lot of anxiety about returning to work. There's a virus out there killing people and doing lasting damage to some who recover. All the experts say to stay away from other people. Though we're taking every precaution, it's simply impossible to always be socially distanced in a crowded school. As someone with a history of lung problems, that worry is always taking up space in my mind.
But I also have a much more selfish reason for feeling anxious about returning to work. During lockdown, I was able to focus most of my energy on self-care, spiritual growth, and most importantly, creating the business of my dreams. This blog got a lot of love and attention over the course of those 20 weeks. It made me more certain than ever that this is what I truly want to do. But it's still not making money. So I have no choice but return to work.
You have a choice
I've realized I have a choice to make. I can wake up every morning with a sense of dread. I can live in the anxiety, and complain about my paid job getting in the way of my dream job. I can resent every minute of it and always be miserable. Or I can choose joy.
Somehow I managed to forget all I had learned about the power of mindset. In the panic over returning to work, I slipped into old habits. It's easily done.
Right now, going back to work feels like the only viable option for me. I'm not prepared to lose the income. So that's something I can't change. What I can change is how I perceive work. I can change the attitude I bring to it.
How to find joy
So from Monday, I'm going to set an intention to find more joy at my job. I'm going to do little things to make it more appealing like buying a plant that's nearly impossible to kill and tending to it every morning. I'm going to create a playlist of high vibe songs. Maybe I can even get my office mates to contribute some of their favorite tunes. I'm going to shamelessly take a meditation break when I need it.
I'm going to be more forgiving of myself and slow down a little bit if I need to. There's plenty of time for everything to get done. I'm going to take things slightly less seriously. Not everything is urgent. I'm going to let go and accept that this job is where I'm meant to be right now. I'm going to look for what this experience can teach me about manifesting my intentions and aligning with my higher self.
Most importantly, I'm going to stay focused on gratitude. Every time I get the urge to complain or start to feel overwhelmed, I'll try to stop and remind myself of three things I'm grateful for.
My job gives me the opportunity to serve others. It's not high paying, but it's enough. My income allows us to save and buy nice things from time to time. Maybe we'll even be able to travel again someday. My job is very secure, so I don't have the anxiety that it could disappear at any moment. I am unbelievably fortunate. I truly have so much to be grateful for.
Depression, anxiety, and pessimism were my default setting for years. It's only in the past couple of years that I've intentionally worked to shift my mindset, so this is all an experiment. I'll let you know how it goes.
I know with children and young people going back to school, a lot of you will be returning to work as well. Some people will be absolutely thrilled, but I know there are other people out there who are experiencing a similar sense of dread.
If you're one of those people, I hope you'll join me in this little experiment. What can you do to find a little extra joy at work? Share in the comments so we can all have an arsenal of tools to keep us smiling through it all.
We're all in this together, friends. There's always something awesome to be found if you look in the right place. Take care of each other, kids. Thanks for being here, and thanks for being you.
Share your joyful energy on Instagram and tag me in your photos of yourself finding joy and being awesome at work.