It can be quite a shock to the system to transition from unemployment (or underemployment) to full-time work. I’m currently experiencing this shock myself, because the job I landed three weeks ago requires me to work 11-hour shifts on weekdays (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Since my previous job was that of a part-time freelancer working from home on extremely flexible hours, I’m finding it rather tough to adjust to the far more rigid structure of a full-time position. I’m getting used to it, though, and I’m managing to get through the days by employing some of these consistently effective methods:
1) Get energized. Start your day with activities you can rely on to wake you up. Yoga or a quick jog around the block works for some people; a simple shower or a cup of coffee works for others. The natural energy found in fruit smoothies is a good substitute for caffeine if coffee makes you jittery. I suggest avoiding energy drinks entirely—they rot your teeth and are by no means good for you.
2) Keep yourself hydrated, and be sure to get enough to eat. Don’t skip breakfast, unless you want to be hungry and miserable later on. Bring a water bottle to work and keep a small snack (e.g. a protein bar) in your pocket for emergency refuelling. Staying well-fed and hydrated is the best way to keep your energy levels up and your brain functioning at full strength.
3) Make friends with your co-workers and, if possible, your boss. The time goes by much faster when you enjoy the company of your fellow employees, and getting into your boss’s good books has plenty of side benefits as well—for example, your boss might be more open to grant you requested days off if he or she likes you as a person. I’m not suggesting you go out of your way to suck up to your supervisor, but the atmosphere of a workplace is much more pleasant if everybody gets along.
4) Maintain a positive attitude. Even if you don’t always enjoy your days at work and would rather be riding the roller coasters at Canada’s Wonderland or tanning at the beach, it’s always a good idea to make the best out of your work situation. A positive attitude is infectious; if you’re always friendly and upbeat, your co-workers will be more likely to reflect that in their own attitudes.
Keep in mind that these are only suggestions and although they work well for me, they may not apply to everyone. It’s important to try out different things to find what works best for you and your work situation. Whatever habits you end up developing to make your work day a little bit less stressful, remember to be thankful that you are one of the lucky ones that are stably employed in these tough economic times.