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Love it or hate it, Corporate America is a great place for people to go and learn. It’s a breeding ground for power plays, ego baiting, personality conflicts and competition. In other words, it’s an opportunity for some serious growth.

But when you’re operating under “old school” philosophies — aka the traditional 9-to-5 grind, complete with lengthy commute, surrounded by gray walls with no windows for hours on end, and you spend more time with your colleagues than your loved ones — it can lead to major overload — emotionally, physically and spiritually — no matter how much you appreciate your job.

Many companies are reactive and operate on fear — despite their (sometimes) best intentions. This we know. Unfortunately, management passes this down to every layer in the organization. This then manifests into indignant attitudes of those on the ground with fear and shame hanging close by.

The expectation of “do everything now” can exacerbate the anxious, rush the creative process into mediocrity, and result in an authoritarian undercurrent that just turns off employees and prospective talent alike.

A pressure cooker environment stirs up emotions and old patterns, but it also accelerates insights if you are aware and able to catch them as they emerge.

Healthy boundary setting, more consistent self-advocacy, direct communication and empathy can be the result of learning to see the bigger picture and taking on a warrior stance. There is always opportunity to grow — even in a less than ideal environment — and many people pass it by.

As a sensitive person, living in New York City presents its challenges. I need day-to-day flexibility and exercise, a vibrant office aesthetic and access to nature. I feel better that way, am more grounded, and can bring more of my authentic sensibilities to what I am doing. This should be non-negotiable, but it ends up falling to the side because of my pattern of people pleasing.

Springtime naturally lets us see things with fresh eyes. Those of us working the same schedule as the seasons change can do little things that welcome in the new, while letting the old fall away. This can feel empowering, inspiring, and provide relief to the hamster-wheel mentality. Consider these ways to detox and rejuvenate:

  • Take a break mid-day to exercise. Whether it is a workout at a nearby gym or a brisk walk outside, move your body. Breaking a sweat will shift your head and energy. Thirty minutes is all it takes.
  • Change your routine in the morning. Take a different route, walk a few extra blocks, start writing “morning pages,” or take a few minutes to set your intention for the day. I have a “morning before my morning,” so I feel like I have more ownership over my day.
  • Relate to your colleagues differently. Notice the dynamics with certain people. If they aren’t as positive as you’d like, make small adjustments to how you interact. They may not change, but your reactions to them might.
  • Pay attention to what attracts you. Perhaps you’re drawn to a particular book, article of clothing, piece of art or TV show. Allow yourself to indulge in your own tastes. Sometimes you will find they are very different from what you have known. Let that be welcome.
  • Rethink time. Many of us have very scheduled lives. If you’re someone who is chronically late, think about why that’s happening. If you always arrive 15 minutes early, ask yourself what would happen if you were just on time. Shake things up a bit.
  • Allow for change. Change happens in different ways — sometimes abruptly and other times incrementally. Watch what claims you are making about your experience. Ask yourself where they come from and if they are true today.

While routine and work hours may bog you down, you ultimately have control over your own life. What can you do to experience it differently? Remember what Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

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Liz Gold is a journalist, marketer and publicist with nearly twenty years of experience working in the media. Her specialty areas include leadership and management best practices, growth strategies, diversity, and workplace culture. She can be reached at rhinogirlmedia@gmail.com.

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