This one goes out to all you administrative professionals out there. That’s right. YOU. Not your boss. Not the guy down the hall who demands everyone’s attention. No. This is YOUR thing.
You work hard, and all of your energy goes into making things run smoothly and helping your employer look good in every way. You’ve got lists and even lists of lists. You know where everything is, when everything is due, who’s behind, what’s ahead, and how to fix the fax machine. You are the office god/goddess, and you deserve a standing ovation!
But there are days—admit it now—when you feel like you are barely holding it together. Oh, you try not to show it. You put on that tight little smile and say, “No problem” or “Consider it done!” How perky of you.
In recognition of your service and soul, here are some science-based tips to help you take care of yourself while being the unsung hero/heroine.
Five Real World Ways to Deal With Frustration At The Office:
1) Breathe. Yes, yes, you’ve heard this before. The trick is remembering to do it. Here’s an idea: Keep a balloon (not inflated) by your telephone. Every time you hang up, blow up that balloon. For extra fun, let go and watch it shoot around your office. Better yet, have a mutual balloon moment with your co-workers. Laughing = Breathing, so consider it therapeutic.
2) Paddle. When you’re stressed, your body is pumping adrenalin and blood is rushing to your extremities, leaving substantially less for your brain. Use your arms and legs! Best choice? Walking, jogging, swimming or working out. Real world: Put your headphones on and listen to your favorite exhilarating music. Now, grab a pencil and conduct the orchestra, pound the piano keys or play some thrashin’ air guitar. Arm swings are good! Get a paddle ball and play with that. Toss your orange into the air a few times. Play catch with your co-worker. Juggle. Do some crazy leg moves under your desk. Do some finger flexing really quickly. Shake out your hands. Snap your fingers. Do some calf raises by simply standing on your toes repeatedly. Look for something active you have to do anyway—deliver a message, rearrange some books, move some boxes.
3) Entrain. If you listen to one frequency in your left ear and another in your right, the right and left hemispheres of your brain will become synchronized. Your brain waves will settle into a frequency that enables you to become more relaxed and creative. To do this, you can go outside and walk in nature. You can listen to an entrainment CD on your headphones. Or you can come up with your own system. For example, if you have a small fountain in your office, and someone next to you has one as well, you’ll both benefit from the differing frequencies. Or, play a nature sounds CD on two stereos in different parts of the office. Create different sounds—small chimes, an open window with street noise, whatever you can do to have different frequencies around you.
4) Drink. Your brain needs water. Your day is going to drag if you get dehydrated, and you won’t realize how long it’s been since you had anything to drink. It’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing and forget this, so build some triggers into your routine. Keep a water bottle on your desk and get in the habit of taking a drink whenever you complete and send an email. Take a drink whenever you sign your name. Take a drink whenever you hang up the phone, but before you blow up that balloon!
5) Pause. Don’t pretend you don’t know how to do this. All it takes is 30 seconds of effort to do…nothing. Close your eyes, gaze at your screensaver, or stare out the window—whatever works for you. Intentionally notice the thoughts that pop into your head, and with each one, as though you were standing back and holding a clipboard, simply say “next” and move on. “Is it lunch?” Next. “I’ll never finish.” Next. “I forgot that agenda.” Next. Don’t dwell. Just note.
The important thing is to create reminders to be mindful of your tension level. Pay attention and take measures to reduce your frustration in small but effective ways.
Here’s my favorite trick. Keep a bowl of M&Ms on your desk. Every time you eat one, remember to be Mindful and Magnificent.
It works like Magic.
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 100 countries around the world.
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