What to Do When it Hurts to Go to Work

Dream jobs aren’t always easy to come by and sometimes it can take awhile for you to land somewhere that feels good. In the meantime, I realize that you might feel obligated to stay at a job that no longer feels in alignment. You need to pay your bills after all. 

If you’re waking up in dread and anxiety, and even your Sunday is ruined as you prepare for another week of suffering through a job you hate, then here is my best advice for you when it literally hurts to go to work:

Practice Self-Care

How can you stay in perpetual self-care throughout your week? What can you do to ease the pain? Perhaps it’s a latte at your favorite coffee shop where you take a moment to chat with the barista? Maybe it’s a playlist that inspires you or calms your mood? Whatever it is, how can you be in a state of perpetual self-care, responding in each moment with grace and love for yourself? 

When I worked a job that hurt, I would listen to inspiring music on my commute, take a break to sit in the sun, call a friend over lunch for a good laugh and plan an evening filled with fun to look forward to. 

Pay Attention to the Message, Not the Messenger

What is the message this job is trying to bring you? Pay attention to the message, not the messenger by resting your attention on the insight this experience is providing for you, instead of fueling your hatred for the work. (Hat-tip to Tallulah Bleu for this incredible insight.)

For example, I once had a job that felt stifling and instead of fueling the “victim” inside of me, I focused on the insight it was bringing — that I needed the opportunity to be more creative in my work. Knowing this shifted my search for work towards something that was in greater alignment with my soul’s calling. 

Seek Out Joy

Your perspective is your life. Change your perspective to revel in joy, love, compassion, kindness, laughter and boundlessness and you will change your life. Joy begets joy. Love begets love. Noticing joy, having gratitude for joy, and living in joy is like a magnet for more joy. 

How can you seek out more joy in your day-to-day? Maybe it’s a smile to a stranger on the bus, a delicious lunch, or a sweet email to a friend? Whatever it is, when you feel the joy in your belly — sit with it, breathe into it and rest your attention there — don’t move to quickly to the next thing and you’ll naturally start to cultivate more joy in your life. This will make all the difference in the world. 

Connect with Others

Conversations with people in your desired or chosen industry, sector or profession will enliven your search for something more. Develop and cultivate a knack for noticing what raises your eyebrows, what makes your heart light up, and what inspires your curiosity and you will start to feel more alive, more connected and more empowered to continue your search for work that is in greater alignment. 

How do you take care of yourself when it hurts to go to work?