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What to Do When You Feel Gloomy at Work

What to Do When You Feel Gloomy at Work

Sometimes, we just feel gloomy — at work or at home. You may love your job and the work you do but still find yourself feeling down once in a while. It’s OK.

According to lifestyle expert Deepak Chopra, “We live in a society where a high value is placed on being positive. Yet sometimes this simply isn’t possible, and people find themselves facing temporary or long-term sadness.” Often, our co-workers or family will say, “Cheer up!” or “Be positive,” when this just doesn’t seem like something you can do.

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So, what can you do when you’re feeling sad? Go home and watch TV all day? You may want to — and you may need a day to do just that — but there are other ways to cope that can help you get through the sad times.

1. Identify Your Sadness

Try and figure out just why your feeling down. According to Chopra, there are three types of sadness: short term, triggered and depression. Short-term sadness might begin when we are stressed, bored, lack sleep or lack stimulation. Triggered sadness happens when someone we love dies or you find out a friend is very ill. Depression is when you can’t cope with something you could normally cope with — as might happen after a death in the family. It goes on for a very long time and affects your life in multiple ways. Identifying the cause of your gloomy mood will help you cope with it and eventually get over it.

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2. Take a Quick Break

If you find yourself unhappy at work, for whatever reason, take a break. Perhaps your boss just hollered at you, or you did something wrong and can’t get past it. Whatever happened, take a break for a half hour — maybe more if you can. Go outside and take a walk. Do a few jumping jacks. Run. Stretch. Call a friend. Do all of these things, or just one or two. Then go back to work and try and focus on the things about your job you do well or like best. Getting involved with a project that you feel you excel at can help you break the doldrums and center yourself.

3. Focus on Your Dreams

Maybe this isn’t the job for you. If you find yourself feeling sad or down at your job often, then perhaps you need to do something else. What is it you’re dreaming about when you’re not focusing on your work? Are you thinking about owning a restaurant or a bookstore? Writing a book? Climbing mountains? Explore ways to make a living doing what you love. Maybe you can work in an outdoor equipment shop that gives mountain climbing demonstrations — or maybe a bookstore. Learn a new skill outside of work that can help you obtain a new job, or look for openings at your current company that might appeal to you more.

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4. List Your Achievements

Take a moment in your lunch break and write out your achievements. Go back to your school days if you have to and start from that spelling bee you won. Include the massive tomato you grew in the garden last year. Reflecting on your better moments and writing them down gives you concrete evidence of your achievements. It’s important in those times when we are feeling low to remember the good things we’ve done, especially if we recently failed at something at work. This can go a long way toward feeling better about yourself and your future.

5. Set a Goal

Maybe you’re sick of this job. Maybe you’re tired of working there or you’re tired of your current circumstances, or whatever. Whatever the reason you’re feeling down, if you set a goal for yourself — a single, motivating goal — you can get past the feeling of gloom. Get excited by your new goal and write it down very clearly. If your goal is to lose weight, then set a certain amount of weight you want to lose by a certain day. If your goal is to own a business, then write down what the business is and when you expect your first opening day to be. Be very specific and then get excited to start achieving that goal.

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In the end, we all feel gloomy sometimes — at work and at home. Sometimes you just get over it and sometimes you have to take action. Sometimes we just want to be a little gloomy and that’s OK too. Surround yourself with people who make you happy and remind yourself that life is a long journey filled with good and bad moments. Focus on the good moments and you may find yourself perking up without even realizing it.

More by this author

Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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