| Career Zone -- Time to climb out of the gloom and doom
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Career Zone -- Time to climb out of the gloom and doom

By Stuart Karasik

Career Zone, Stuart KarasikMurky: dark, gloomy, cheerless; vague, unclear, confused. Does anyone feel like they’ve been living inside a murky, gray cloud the past six months?

If so, it’s time to clear the decks, open the blinds and take a break from the negativity. Regardless of what’s happening with the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and the daily news, we all have the power to set our minds on positive thoughts and actions rather than worrying about undefined, uncontrollable problems.

Try your hand at a few of the following tips and strategies for lightening your mood and perking up your work and home lives. Rebooting from the past weeks of uncertainty, stress and challenges can help you be more productive and support your family and friends.

  • Surround yourself with optimism, encouragement and constructiveness. If someone, or something, is negative, try to avoid that person or experience. Look for people, places or things that help you feel upbeat.
  • Resist the habit of complaining. Express your feelings once, then let go and move on. You alone are responsible for your mood and outlook.
  • Develop the habit of laughter. Laughter releases pheromones and stress, so make a conscious effort to laugh as much as you can.
  • Choose one activity to improve your health, such as cutting back on caffeine, taking a daily walk, or doing some stretches. This will stimulate the “feel good” endorphins in your brain.
  • Include activities in your daily routine that you enjoy and help you relax. Allow yourself time to listen to music or read a book, as well as for exercise, mindfulness and periods of silence. Solitude renews your spirit and allows you to focus.
  • Pause to deliberately recognize and acknowledge daily high points – good news, the completion of projects, family updates, etc.
  • Breathe. Practice breathing in deeply and slowly through your nose and out through your mouth, repeating gently five times. The extra oxygen in your body helps combat stress and anxiety, reduce pain, and slow your heart rate.  
  • Set limits. Recognize what tasks and obligations you can handle right now and cut back on the non-essential. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s smart to delegate to others or ask for help.

As I’ve said to my kids over the years, life is a marathon, not a sprint. Hopefully, these suggestions can make your journey a bit smoother and enjoyable along the way.

Stuart Karasik has spent most of his career in the human resources/personnel arena. He has a Ph.D. in education, a master’s in biology, and was previously the training program manager for the City of San Diego.