If you’re a healthcare worker, retail worker, or work in any other job that ramps up at the end of the year, the next couple months can be especially stressful. There’s been a lot of research on the “winter blues” that occur when it starts to get darker earlier — and the more serious seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — but the truth is, autumn can be peak “anxiety season” for many workers. It can be difficult to find meaning in the work you’re doing when you’re so busy, and that alone can lead to stress and burnout.
If you need some coping strategies to better handle the stress you’re dealing with, here are some Microsteps that can help:
When you arrive at work, pause and ask yourself, “Why is today's work important?”
Research shows that meaning is a motivator. When you consider your work’s importance and potential impact, you’ll be much more driven to complete it. Whether your work helps your local community get what they need or supports your loved ones, reminding yourself who benefits from your work and why it’s important can help you better handle the stressors that come your way.
Choose an image that represents your “why” and place it near your workstation.
Maybe it’s a sticky note with an affirmation, or a family photo. By returning to this image as a reminder, you’ll be able to keep your “why” top of mind. And if you don’t have a designated workstation, you can set the photo as your phone background.
When talking to a teammate, swap, “How are you?” for a deeper question.
Consider asking, “What challenges are you facing?” Or “What’s on your mind today?” The exact question matters less than taking the opportunity to go deeper, giving your teammates a chance to connect and be more authentic.
Rephrase what you hear your manager say.
This active listening technique not only confirms your understanding, but also acknowledges their concerns. It can be especially effective in complex or difficult conversations.
At the end of each day, acknowledge one small win you had.
Celebrating our achievements, no matter how big or small, paves the path toward a growth mindset, and empowers us to feel good about the work we’re doing. Giving yourself that little pat on the back will help you feel proud of yourself and more equipped to handle tomorrow’s challenges.