Staying Happy From 9 to 5

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The key factor in staying happy at your job is determined by how well you handle stress in the work place. Countless studies have shown that stress causes physical, mental and emotional disruption for an individual. A joint team of Harvard and Stanford researchers actually suggested that stressful jobs might actually lower your life expectancy. Of course, not all stress is bad. A certain amount of stress is actually a good thing. Experts call good stress – eustress. Eustress is actually required in the workplace to motivate staff, for innovation, and for a Company to grow.

Easy, now that we know what to fix, but how do we tackle this silent and invisible creeper in the work place? What we need to do is not let stress get out of control and warning signs are quite obvious when stress hits the brim of what we can handle (when eustress becomes distress).  Easy symptoms that we have all experienced at some point in our career are lack of appetite, insomnia, become angry and irritable, depressed mood, lack of interest, etc.


Aside from the usual exercise and healthy eating habits that we should be maintaining, we should also focus on sleep. Are you getting 8 hours of sleep per day? That will really make or break your day. The key is to stick to a schedule so your internal alarm clock sticks to a certain routine. Also, power naps do wonders – just a quick 15-20-minute nap will clear your head and give you a good charge. Of course, you might want to set your alarm if you’re the type of person who just can’t nap and will ‘sleep’ for the night once you doze off.

Form and Maintain Positive Relationships

Share your thoughts and get things off your chest with friends and family. Making friends with coworkers who share and understand the same work place environment can also help tremendously with stress encountered at work. Remember that most people have been there and done that. There is always someone at work who will have gone through the same situation as you can give you some two cents on your issues.  Staying positive despite the circumstances also makes or breaks your day. If there are issues that can’t be changed then it’s worthwhile to change our attitude. Take a deep breath and smile through it.

Organize Tasks and Forget Multitasking

Focus on 2-3 tasks to complete per day and set deadlines depending on order of priority. I assure you, there is no point in multitasking or trying to complete everything in one day. It will only leave you feel unaccomplished and frazzled from splitting focus. Set realistic deadlines by only having 2-3 tasks to complete in one day or even two. A sense of accomplishment and control will scare away the stress bugs. Always use your calendar to plan out the week and have a to-do list for each week or month. You can then allocate your time and days accordingly.

It’s Okay to not be Perfect

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes – you can ask anyone who is on the Forbes list. Mistakes are opportunities for us to learn and grow and without them we will not improve. Always stay positive and learn to appreciate others and yourself for the effort put in. Learn that no one can be perfect, but as long as we have tried our best for the day, we deserve a pat on the back.

Listen to Music

Music can help us regulate our emotions and reduce anxiety which is the perfect medicine for stress. If it doesn’t affect your focus at work, a great suggestion is to put on your favorite playlist during working hours. You can also listen to your favorite playlist to and from work – even sing your heart out. I assure you; you will feel great!

Hopefully the above methods can help you stay happy in your work place. There is no set method and each person have their best methods to relieve stress. We hope that you maintain your stress control and learn how to avoid stress at work. Let us know if you have any other great ways to relieve stress in the work place in the comments below.

Clara Au-Yeung, CPA, CGA
CPABC Vancouver Chapter Communications Director

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