Working Hard to Work Well

By Amy Brightman, LCSW

Many of us spend the majority of our time working, spending more time with co-workers than we do with our own families. So, it is understandable that many clients in therapy talk about their jobs —difficulties navigating their role, their colleagues, and their stress. Here are some tips on doing a good job, fulfilling your role, and feeling good while doing it.

Learn to Delegate
Delegating is about assigning a task or responsibility to someone else. Typically, this refers to trusting someone who is less senior, and ultimately can benefit both parties. It will take more off the senior person’s plate and also increase the opportunity for the less senior person to learn how to carry out specific tasks for the job. If you are less senior, look to those who are parallel to you. Perhaps they share a different perspective or expertise. Ask for favors or suggestions and do some in return. Delegating can be difficult for people because means giving up some control and trusting that someone else will do the job well. Figure out who can be your support in this way, and remember, just because someone is doing the task does not mean you can’t check-in along the way.

Take a Timeout
Everyone deserves a breather. Take time to recharge and give your mind a break. Take a walk to get fresh air, have a healthy snack, check-in with friends and family, or socialize with co-workers. This will provide you with balance throughout your day and give you opportunity to connect to those you’re with every day. Recharging will allow you to have more energy and focus to get your work done.

Communicate Your Needs
I recommend that my clients have regularly scheduled check-ins with their manager. They don’t have to be excessive, but the intent is to develop a positive association when meeting with a manager. This makes contact with their manager predictable and structured, allowing opportunity to speak about what is going well (It is helpful to not only have meetings when there is a problem). These meetings will strengthen a rapport and provide a chance to learn from someone who is senior. 

Stay Healthy
Stress coupled with a busy schedule can lead to a weakened immune system. Have daily self-care habits, like eating right, exercising, and getting good sleep. Hunger and fatigue hinder our ability to manage stress and focus. Make sure you are not skipping lunch during the day and choose healthy snacks that can provide some energy. Exercise strengthens the immune system, improves mood, and positively impacts sleep. Combine all three and you’ll have a strong foundation to work from when things get challenging throughout the week.

Own Your Success
Acknowledge when you do a good job. Give yourself a reward, let your boss know that the job got done, and take time to feel good about it before moving on to the next project. I like to take time in therapy to understand what supports clients have in their lives. Many times, clients forget to include themselves. So remember, you are your best support.

Take time to consider how you can apply these skills to yourself and within your own work environment. It may be helpful to choose one specific goal. For example, commit to taking a walk every Wednesday at 3pm or plan ahead for the week and pack healthy snacks to bring to work with you. Find what works for you so that you can feel in control of managing the stress that comes along with work.

Amy Brightman, LCSW is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you would like support in managing work related stress, contact Cobb Psychotherapy and see how therapy can help.