Fighting the Blues at Work

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated Single Awareness Day— or what some “traditionalists” like to refer to as Valentine’s Day. While I promised myself that I wouldn’t let a candy corporation holiday negatively affect me in any way, I couldn’t help but get emotional every time I’d see a co-worker get a beautiful bouquet of flowers. By the time I finished sulking and gone through all of the love-focused Facebook statuses (what can I say I’m a masochist) it was already 4:50 p.m. and I had only tackled half of my work assignments.

My sadness had distracted me from my work, work that if I didn’t complete could have potentially left me without a job. Then I’d really have something to be sad about. While it’s understandable that the blues happen to the best of us from time-to-time, it’s important that an emotional incident like a bad breakup, for example doesn’t affect productivity at work. In the end, you don’t want to lose everything you’ve worked so hard for in your career because of a personal problem (when you could have “kept it together”). That said, to learn how to better cope with the blues at work so that you can stay on task, here are 4 tips on what NOT to do.

#4 Do Not Listen to Sad Songs

If you’re the type that likes to listen to your iPod, YouTube channels, or some other instant streaming music station at their desk to help the work day pass by, make sure to refrain from listening to sad songs—they can ultimately just make you more emotional. While some studies do say that music can help battle depression and listening to songs that are “relatable” (i.e. can properly captivate what you are feeling) can help you feel better, you still may want to save those songs until you’re home. You don’t want to be overcome with some much emotion that you’re day dreaming and crying at your desk. If you choose to listen to music at work, make sure your play list is filled with “empowering,” “Miss. Independent,” and “go-getter” songs that will help you push through the sadness and remind you how important being employed and self-sufficient really is.

#3 Do Not Keep Your Phone On

Unless you’re a parent and need to keep you phone on at all times (or unless you’re waiting for a very important phone call or text) it’s probably best to keep you phone off throughout the work day. All too often distraction arises from constant text messages from friends wanting to know what’s wrong or how you’re feeling—and just one text can manifest into a full blown conversation. Save the chit chat for after work. Not to mention that having your phone on and easily available, maybe on your desk or in your top drawer, makes it all too tempting to constantly check to see if the one who made you upset called or texted to make up or say hello. And if this individual doesn’t contact you, as the day progresses it can make you even more upset and distract you even further. So it’s best if you just turn it off and bury it in your purse. If you don’t want anyone to worry about you, you could always make a little announcement on your social media profile(s) that you won’t be available until after 5 p.m. (or whenever your work day ends).

#2 Do Not Stay at Your Desk All Day

Separating yourself from your co-workers and choosing to sit at your desk all day is not the healthiest choice. Go mingle and have lunch with your co-workers—they may just tell you a story that makes you laugh so you’ll feel better or they may provide some comfort if you let them in on what’s going. If you’re struggling focusing, don’t hesitate to take a mini break either. Take a stroll outside to get some fresh air and natural sunlight, properties that many experts say can help fight depression.

#1 Do Not Go to Work

Lastly, if you know early on that you’re just an emotional wreck and too upset to focus on anything else, go ahead and call-in sick or take a personal day. Your employer will be thankful that he or she isn’t paying you to sit at your desk and do nothing and you’ll have a chance to cry your eyes out and regain your composure if need be. This of course is the LAST resort if you really are sure that going to work may actually be a detriment to your career or how your employer perceives you. Very rarely should fighting blues lead to you missing a work day.

Have you had any blue days recently? What did you do? (What do you wish you didn’t do?) Apart from the above mentioned, how do you fight the blues at work?

Jemima Lopez

Jemima Lopez is a freelance blogger and writer who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and best online schools. She welcomes your comments at her email: lopezjemima562 @

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