Office survival guide

Those mornings. When the alarm goes off, and it feels like the end of the world. When you are sick but not-sick-enough-to-take-a-sick day. When, half conscious, you talk yourself into sleeping in for an extra half an hour and then have to confess this to your supervisor when you eventually get into work an hour later than normal. I had one of those mornings today. But everything turned out OK – because I discovered an important secret to workplace survival:

The Wellbeing Bag.

I cottoned on to the idea as I sat on the bed, switching manicly between prayers for strength and extreme self talk, trying to move my person from the bed to the shower. It was a brilliant idea. I emptied my tote bag (my regular bag at the moment) onto the floor and threw out all the rubbish. From there I pulled out all the boring or stressful items – wallet, diary, key to the office – and packed them into a smaller handbag. And then I was left with an empty tote bag, my glorious Wellbeing Bag, which I filled with good things to get me through the day. In went my bible. In went many tiny tupperware boxes, filled with strawberries, kiwi fruit, avocado, liquorice and almonds. In went some CDs of my favourite music. I packed my slippers. I packed a comfortable woollen jumper. It was a bag full of only good things – the best equipment I could carry in the face of such a horrible start to the day. It worked! Even with a half-cold and a very late start, it ended up being one of the nicest days of work I have had in a while.

This discovery is not a secret to be kept! Here are some tips for surviving the office on the days when you don’t want to leave your house or even get out of bed.

For starters, try packing your own Wellbeing Bag full of little things that lift your spirits (and are appropriate to bring into your workplace!). Make sure you get out of your chair numerous times – not just to get water, brew tea and cut up your fruit – to actually leave the building and see the sky. Keep a small stash of pretty stationery to send notes and letters to your office friends and your Grandma. Start a collection (or expand an existing collection) of nearby places to go for a hot drink, a sweet treat or a little bit of peace and quiet. Plan your schedule so that you are working on your most enjoyable tasks at the right time of the day.

Or maybe try some of these incredibly specific suggestions:

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1. Eat fresh fruit for morning tea – the more colourful, the better.
2. Take a lunchbreak and make sure you get to see the sky.
3. Tea improves a multitude of uncomfortable work situations.
4. Drink lots of water. Throwing some mint or lemon in makes it taste even nicer.
5. No one notices when you wear slippers under the desk!

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6. Revel in your most fun work tasks. Like playing with GIS (in this case – mapping train stations).
7. Eat fresh fruit for afternoon tea too.
8. Pop a favourite CD into your computer and borrow some transcribing headphones to listen to it in style.
9. Keep pretty cards and notes from friends to re-read when you need encouragement.
10. Take a quick walk to Harris Park for handmade Turkish Delight ($2 for four pieces)!

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4 thoughts on “Office survival guide

  1. unmowngrass

    I love this!

    I usually find that on those sorts of mornings, a hot chocolate will work wonders. I know it’s usually a drink for rainy afternoons, but there are some mornings that feel like rainy afternoons, and then I’m good to go for the rest of the day, and it doesn’t take too much time since I’d be making a cup of tea anyway. I have bought a jumper (well, a cardigan) that I leave at work on a hanger, for those times the office gets cold or it’s the sort of day that just needs a jumper-hug. Not sure how well I’d work in my slippers though!

    Reply
    1. Alison Post author

      …but there are some mornings that feel like rainy afternoons.

      So true! And on those mornings, hot chocolate is absolutely perfect!

      Reply
  2. birdienl

    What a lovely and inspiring post! Unfortunately I work in a lab, so not all of this will work for me, but the shops are full of lovely summer fruits here in The Netherlands, so it’s time to invest in that!

    Reply

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