We’ve all had times where we’ve had to shove difficult feelings aside and put on a public face to go out and deal with… well, the public, in all forms, whether it’s the actual public on the work floor, our co-workers, or others that we just don’t want to deal with. Holidays can be especially tense and fraught with emotion, and can be overwhelming at the best of times. There are some ways that you can try to make the best of the worst situations, without losing sight of yourself.
- Take your time and your breaks. There is nothing wrong with actually taking your scheduled and earned breaks, no matter what we think we have pressing within our schedules. Whatever is waiting for us will be waiting those 15 minutes when we get back, and time that you can carve out for yourself can help you to center and get on a better emotional footing.
- Give yourself permission to take a mental health day. Take a look at how much time off you have, and what you have scheduled. There is no reason you can’t call yourself in sick for a self-care day and recharge your own batteries. If you can’t take the holiday party scheduled for work, then DON’T. Call yourself in. From a manager’s point of view, make sure that your shifts and programs are covered beforehand and you aren’t leaving your area or branch shortstaffed, please.
- Create an oasis. If you have a desk or an office or a cubicle, then you have a place where you can keep something that reminds you of happiness, perhaps a picture of pets, of kids, of parents, of loved ones, or a quote that reminds you of what you’re working toward. Choose something which, whenever you get a chance to look at it, gives you that breath of happiness and calm. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else, it’s YOUR spot.
- Create a countdown. Find something to look forward to after the holidays- a vacation, a trip, a conference, a movie coming out, SOMETHING, and put a countdown timer on your phone and on your calendar. You’d be surprised how excited you’ll get looking at a reminder of your special something to which you’re counting down, and how that can take you out of the moment for a minute.
- Lose yourself in the music. Whether you keep your MP3s on your phone or (if you’re like me) on a separate player, create your own happiness playlist. It can be seasonal and have holiday music on it, it can be anti-holiday and totally bash the holidays. It can be whatever YOU like, so sit down one night and create a specific playlist of songs that you know are guaranteed to lift you out of a negative mood, and download it to your phone and your music player. Then, whenever you’re on break, or in your car, blast it as loud as you like. You can easily keep earbuds in your pocket and sneak to the restroom to listen to something happy for a moment.
- Breathe. Before you go out for your reference shifts, or any time you’re headed out to the public floor, stop whatever work you’re doing and take a good 5 minutes to breathe. Whether it’s in a corner somewhere, or at your desk, find a place where no one is going to bother you, and just breathe. Taking those minutes to come down from whatever you were doing (meetings, programs, planning, etc.) can get you clearheaded and give you time to put on the face you need to deal with the public.
- Have a plan. No matter how well anyone is feeling at any time of the year, there can always be a patron that hits all the wrong buttons with someone. Make sure that you and your staff/fellow coworkers have a signal and a plan so you can switch out with someone on the public floor or desks if need be. That way the desk and floor are still covered, no one is going to be in trouble, and everyone’s sanity is still intact.
- Take care of you. Make sure to hydrate, eat, exercise, and rest, as much as you’re able. It may seem silly, but those four things are cornerstones of a healthy you, and even through a horrible holiday you need to take care of yourself first. Not taking care of yourself will make yourself more miserable than you would be otherwise, which will lead to more misery.
- Treat yourself. That being said, it doesn’t mean that you have to be ascetic. Have an extremely hard day, or know that a day is going to suck with meetings? Make an appointment for something special, or stop to get a special treat on the way home. Some prefer getting nails done. I prefer cupcakes.
- Talk to someone. There is someone out there who will listen to what you’re going through, and can help you. Look through your friends, look through your social media…but do not go to your coworkers! (That’s a big no-no). If you are so inclined, or if your situation warrants extra care, consider looking for professional help through work or through a professional therapist.
How do you keep your public face on through trying times? Share with us!