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How to Thrive at Work When Your Personal Life Is Getting You Down

Topics: Career Advice

Life isn’t always pleasant, and it’s seldom ever easy. As a grown-up member of human society, chances are you’re going to experience some periods during your adult life that are challenging, difficult, maybe even kind of miserable. Maybe you’re in the middle of a divorce, or caring for aging parents, or maybe your kids are having a really rough time at school. Regardless of the specific issue, you might start to wonder how you’ll ever be able to get through this and keep doing your job the way you did before. But, here’s the thing: not only can you wade through this with your professional reputation intact, you could actually thrive at work during this time. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

personal life
Image Credit: Sander van der Wel/Flickr
  1. Remember that you’re in control here.

Work could turn out to be a real source of comfort for you during this difficult time. When learning to cope with something challenging, it helps to focus on things you can control rather than things you can’t. Some aspects of your life might feel like they’re out of your hands right now — remembering that work isn’t one of those things could be really helpful. When the rest of your life feels a little unhinged, going about your business, literally, during the workday could help you find some stability and familiarity again in the everyday. These feelings of comfort and control should help you personally, and they won’t do you any harm professionally either.

  1. Unplug as much as you can.

It’s important to get some distance from whatever is happening in your personal life from time to time. Try using work hours as a time to do just that. Stay away from social media. Leave your phone in your bag or in a coat, and check it every few hours rather than keeping it at your fingertips. Unplugging is good for us even under normal circumstances. With so much going on at home, it becomes that much more important. In a recent article at Entrepreneur, Jason Fell wrote about unplugging during the workday while he was going through his divorce.

“I realize this isn’t always 100 percent possible, but try turning off your personal phone during work hours. Limit your checking of social media. When you’re at work, stay focused on the work,” he wrote. “For me, I’ve limited the types of communications I get on my smartwatch. If there’s someone who texts you a lot, stop those notifications from vibrating on your wrist every second and get to them when you can.”

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  1. Also, remember that you need breaks.

When our lives change, whether the shift was our own decision or something that was out of our hands, it can be pretty jarring. You have to adjust and adapt so quickly, and this process can leave you mentally and emotionally drained, to say the least. When this kind of adjustment is happening in your personal life, work can become a place where you enjoy a much-needed respite from the chaos. You need to take a break from everything that’s going on once in a while so that you can reengage with renewed energy and a more positive outlook. Trying viewing the office as a place where you get to take a break from everything that’s going on in your personal life. It’ll help you stay on track professionally, and it might help you get through this trying time a little easier, too.

  1. Make a point to find the meaning, the value, and the progress, every day.

One of the keys to thriving at work when you’re going through a tough time at home is to realize that work is a place where your actions have real meaning and a lot of value. You don’t need to do a job like nursing or teaching to find that kind of satisfaction through your work, either. It could be as simple as looking around and realizing how much your clients, or even your coworkers, depend on you to do your job. The work you do is valuable and your actions are meaningful. Try not to lose sight of that along the way. Also, be sure to take a second to recognize your progress, when you’ve completed a task. Enjoy that feeling of accomplishment when you move something from your inbox to the done pile. Those little bursts of satisfaction could help you keep going forward — both personally and professionally.

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How do you thrive at work when going through a difficult time? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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