On this episode of My Crazy Office, Kathi and Katherine address a delicate topic: Does your physical appearance hold you back from changing jobs? They start with a question from someone who knows it’s time to leave their job but hesitates to take action because they feel physically unattractive. Kathi and Katherine consider what you can do if your physical appearance prevents you from going after a better job.
On this My Crazy Office podcast, Kathi and Katherine talk about what you should do if you’ve been unfairly labeled at work. They start with a question from someone whose boss keeps saying she needs to “up her game,” and work harder — even though her colleagues describe her as the hardest working member of the team. Kathi and Katherine describe other ways that people can be labeled at work, and what you can do to address it.
On this episode of My Crazy Office podcast, Kathi and Katherine discuss a common phenomenon: why some people who know they need to leave their jobs can’t. They start with a question from someone who works in a horrible situation, but can’t take steps to find a better job. Kathi and Katherine consider what prevents individuals from leaving bad situations, and how those same people can coax themselves forward.
Burnout — It happens to the best of us. On this episode of My Crazy Office, Kathi and Katherine explore the topic of burnout; how to spot it, how to treat it, and how to manage someone who has it. What do you do if you feel so depleted that going to work fills you with a sense of dread? How do you manage a top performer who suddenly seems burnt out at work? Listen here.
If you are a hardworking, career-minded professional, you may be very good at taking care of others, and not so good at taking care of yourself. In this podcast, Kathi and Katherine address what it looks like if you are the last priority at your job and in your life, and how to take steps to change that.
Kathi and Katherine talk about burnout prevention for high performers on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.
First we give advice to an employee who is great at their job but drowning in work.
Then we discuss how managers can protect their stellar employees from working too hard and burning out.
As we approach a holiday weekend and the rollout of summer, now is a good time to take concrete steps to give your brain a break. “A break from what?” You may ask. A break from being “on” and in hyper-alert mode for four months straight.
I’m willing to bet that most of our brains could use a break. For weeks now, they’ve been scanning the news, scrolling through apps, ingesting forecasts, responding to texts, sifting through email, sitting on video conference calls, monitoring chat threads, reviewing to-do lists, and ruminating over what we haven’t been able to accomplish at work.
Giving your brain a break is like taking a mental vacation. You want to let your brain rest and restore itself, rather than constantly pressuring it to react and respond to all of the information and tasks it’s been holding. Giving your brain a break is crucial because every mind needs time for reflection and regeneration. Your mind needs rest now so that it can help you do your best work and make your best decisions in the near future.
Here are a few simple (but not easy) things you can do to give your brain a break:
- Take a vacation from the news – Much of the news we ingest is designed to get our attention – it’s sensational. Overtime, it inflames and agitates the brain’s nervous system. If you can, refrain from consuming news for an entire day or a weekend. If you can’t do that, try limiting your intake to once in the morning and once in the evening.
- Take a break from social media – This means staying away from social media for a day or two. Some people take week-long breaks. Try taking a picture of your family and NOT posting it immediately. Or play a round of miniature golf, and don’t message anyone while you’re playing so that your brain can be present for the whole experience.
- Spend time in nature – Time spent in a natural setting walking, picnicking, hiking, swimming, biking or simply sitting and taking in fresh air is a balm for the brain. Listening to the sounds of nature – water rushing, birds chirping, leaves rustling – also helps the mind relax and refresh.
- Put your unsolved problems in a box – This technique is designed to help you let go of those problems that cannot be solved by ruminating on them. It’s an interesting exercise in letting go – if only for 24 hours. Write down an unsolved problem and put it in a physical box or container. Consider it an act of decluttering your brain. You will free up space for more creative ideas.
- Immerse yourself in music or art – Playing music you love, taking in art or photography or film that you are passionate about can relax your mind and release emotions. It’s especially helpful to the emotional sections of the brain that benefit from soothing sounds and beautiful images.
- Do something that makes you laugh a lot – Is there a movie you find hysterical? A writer who cracks you up? A comedian who you find endlessly funny? Maybe there’s a friend whose humor brings you to tears (of laughter). Laughter is a great release and relaxant for the brain. Whatever tickles your funny bone, do it.
During the last four months, our brains have been working overtime. We’ve used them to handle the pandemic, to respond to social, political and economic upheaval. We’ve used them to plan our days, take care of our loved ones, show up for work, and do the best that we can under strange and adverse conditions. I invite you to apply these ideas (or your own) to give your brain the rest it needs. It will thank you.
Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.
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My husband was noticeably irritated with me last night. He said that I was “yawn talking.” Do you know what yawn talking is? It’s when you keep talking even as you yawn. Apparently, I’ve been doing that a lot lately, and it’s extremely annoying.
My initial reaction after being accused of “yawn talking,” was to strike back. If I do that, then he “burp talks.” But that isn’t really the point. The point is, we’ve been sheltering in place for too long, and we’re getting on each other’s nerves. Critical words, verbal tics, grating habits, and nonverbal gestures that we might normally have shrugged off are getting to us.
You may find yourself in a similar situation. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard numerous complaints from my clients about other people’s bad behavior. It could be a boss who is making more-than-usual unreasonable demands. A family member who is acting out. A coworker who is chronically late – even for Zoom meetings. Perhaps you have an upstairs neighbor who is playing loud music or moving furniture late at night.
None of these may be new behaviors, but they feel more irritating today. It’s the emotional by-product of extended captivity in the name of staying safe.
If your nerves are frayed, your temper is quick, and you feel overly reactive to the behavior of others, you are not alone. The question is, what can we do to calm our systems down?
Here are a few tips:
Shift your energy – I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Confined living creates pent up energy which needs to be released one way or another. Run, jog, dance, squirm, have a pillow fight, take a bath, step outside, take ten deep breaths. Do something to shift the energy and relax your system. The more rigorous the movement, the better the release.
Ask yourself, “how important is it?” – If someone criticizes you, interrupts you, ignores you, makes a sarcastic remark, or offends you in some way, try to pause and ask yourself if it’s worth getting upset about. Is this a matter of life or death? Is your welfare truly threatened by this person/event/remark?
Let someone talk you off of the ledge – Sometimes you may know that you are over-reacting but you can’t help yourself. At these times, it’s smart to call a trusted friend or confidante, voice your complaint, and let them calm you down.
Try to find the humor – This isn’t always easy, but it’s well worth the effort. I am forever grateful to those people who can find the humor in difficult moments. Laughter relaxes the nervous system and puts small problems in their proper perspective. If you can find what’s funny in a tense exchange, both parties will benefit.
There is no miracle cure for our frayed nerves at this time. We don’t know exactly when we will be less confined, more mobile, less fearful. While we do our best to manage our lives during the pandemic, let’s all commit to doing what we can to soothe our over-worked nerves.
Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises