How to Protect Your Emotional Energy in a Job You Hate

There are a lot of common themes that show up in the work I do with my 1:1 clients. One of the most important ones? 

How many people feel drained, unfulfilled and dissatisfied by their jobs. 

It makes my heart hurt. It makes me upset. And I want it to stop. 

But I recognize that for a lot of people, their job feels like a means to an end. A necessary evil in order to keep the lights on, so to speak. And it would be irresponsible of me as a coach to tell everyone to just take a leap of faith and leave their jobs - much as I may want to do that at times. 

So instead, I've come up with tools and practices that allow my clients to protect their emotional energy when they're working their day job. And now, I'm happy to share some of those tools with you. 

These tools are a great way to protect yourself from that feeling of being drained and miserable at the end of a day at work. The feeling that convinces you to spend another night Netflix bingeing on the couch rather than experimenting with that new recipe or going for a walk. That feeling that makes you crave a glass of wine halfway through the afternoon, and that leaves you dreading another week as soon as you finish Sunday brunch.

  1. Wrap Yourself Up. This tool is a visualization exercise. Think about something that makes you feel really safe, cozy, comfortable and supported. For me it's the feeling of a fluffy down comforter when you first wrap it around you. The comforter is cool to the touch but it's also cozy, and it feels like a barrier from the world. So first, visualize some item, sensation or space that gives you that same feeling. Get really clear on what your item or space is - this is going to become your energetic protection. Start your work day by closing your eyes in your car (in the parking lot) or when you first get to your office, and call that visualization to mind. For me, i imagine wrapping myself up in that comforter, and sealing in all of my happiness, joy, energy and positivity for the day. Return to that visual anytime you feel things starting to get you worked up or drained.
  2. Create a Kickass Mantra. Man oh man, I love a mantra. My career coach had me rock these when I was still working in my PR job and side hustling my business, and they were life savers. Here, I want you to think about a phrase or word that describes how you feel about work, but does so in a positive way that gives you the power. So for example, if you feel like your work isn't fulfilling or meaningful, you could say 'This job isn't meaningful to me, so I don't allow it to drain my energy.' Or even better, 'This job pays my bills so I can do things that bring me joy.' Or even 'thanks for paying for my happiness, suckers!' Shifting the power to yourself and being positive about your job will leave you feeling less attached to that energy drain and more in control of your life.
  3. Build a Bad Day Toolbox. This is something I love to work on with my clients - creating a metaphorical toolbox of practices they can use for when they have a bad day. This is especially important if you're in a job you hate, so you can create a toolbox customized for that space. The above practices make great additions to any toolbox. To fill it out, think about the things that bring you joy in life. Maybe endorphins after a workout. Dancing around your kitchen. Taking a walk outside. Watching a cat video. Make a list of those tools, and highlight the ones that you could also do at your office. Keep that list in your desk, and pull it out when everything feels terrible. Do 10 quick jumping jacks, put on Spotify and dance or head to YouTube and watch some cute animals - whatever it takes to shake off that funk and get you back in your power. 
  4. Communicate. I am a big believer that you can't get what you never ask for. So many of us have a mentality of being lesser in our jobs than those who employ us, which leaves us feeling like we can't ask for anything because . Thinking we should just be grateful that they were even willing to give us a job. Which makes me nuts. Because you are awesome, and they hired you for a reason. And much as they evaluate you and ask you to change things, take on new projects and roles, you have every right to ask them to change things, too. If you want to work on a certain type of project, ask. If you want flexibility to work from home, create a proposal and ask. Want to bring a certain benefit like office yoga or healthy snacks into your office? Ask. You guys get the idea. And if you get a lot of no's, that gives you a sign that maybe the company you're with isn't the best fit for you. So you can start looking elsewhere. 

Use these tools, and I promise you'll start to feel more in control and less drained, even if your job kind of sucks. These are great practices to use in any areas of your life that feel particularly draining, and can really be tweaked and applied to fit your situation. Because I believe that you have way more important things to worry about than that passive aggressive thing your boss/officemate/HR manager said when passing by your office. 

Don't let the energy vampires get you down. Keep on shining, you beautiful human.