It can be hard, sometimes, when you’re at work, to remember that you’re also a person outside of the office walls. To remember that you get to think about and care about things you love and not, say, an email you forgot to send or a deadline looming at your face.
I should say that I am very lucky – I work with wonderful people in a role that mostly plays to my strengths and has very reasonable hours. That said, it’s still tough to feel like the parts of you that you like are the parts of you that you’re pushing down for eight hours to get something else done.
Here are some of the ways I use to help myself feel like Regular Moog still exists, even when I’m at work ❤
Admittedly office wear is not my strong suit in general (pause here for me to laugh at my own unintentional pun), but I do try to look vaguely like a presentable adult going to her place of work. This stops at my ears. When it comes to earrings, I want to be wearing the most me things I can find. I have Lego Sherlock Holmes! I have Lego Musketeers! I have Adventure Time earrings! Portal earrings! TINY LES MISERABLES BOOK EARRINGS!
And the same goes with pins. Having something small on me that I can see when I look in the mirror really helps with that weird not quite there feeling that sometimes happens when you’ve been at work for five hours and answered a question about something you’re not sure about six times. Also, my earrings got their own shout-out in a colleague’s leaving email this year and I think that’s probably the peak of my professional life, let’s be real.
Mugs! I took my own mug to work even though there are office ones to use. Mine’s in the shape of an owl (thank you, Paperchase) and I get so many comments on it from people being like LOOK AT YOUR MUG IT HAS A TAIL! Having this weird little owl on my desk is great – it’s something I picked, and it’s something I brought with me. Likewise, the water bottle I have (also Paperchase. NB sadly I am not sponsored by Paperchase.) which is also covered in owls and has a curly straw. They’re things I use multiple times a day, and it really helps me out to see a little piece of personality and choice just chilling on my desk.
three: lunch breaks
Leave the building on your lunch break. Also important: TAKE YOUR FULL LUNCH BREAK. The last place I worked had an office culture that heavily frowned upon people taking their full unpaid lunch hour, which was pretty indicative of the company culture as a whole. My current workplace, though, is basically entirely the opposite – lunch breaks are really valued and encouraged, which is one of the nicest things about where I work.
Taking the time to do things for myself in that hour was a REVELATION. YouTube! Nonsense games! Writing! A REAL MOOG BRIEFLY SURFACING! \o/
I also try and go outside every lunchtime, even if it’s just a quick walk around the street because it’s pouring with rain or I’m not feeling it – just something to get me out of the building and remind myself that other things exist. Also, there’s fresh air out there, which can be really good when you’ve been in an office for four hours and you’re not sure what the temperature is any more.
four: take quick breaks
Find an app you like that has actions at regularly timed intervals and can be checked in on quickly while you’re waiting for something – a kettle to boil, your inbox to load, your computer to restart because technology is against you, etc etc. Games I have loved include Bakery Story (build your own adorable bakery! theme it however you like!) and Kim Kardashian Hollywood (this makes me feel like I am living my best Instagram life and it is The. Best.). Both of these send notifications when your actions are refilled or a cake needs taking out of the oven, and just taking a minute while your tea is brewing to pop in somewhere virtual and do something escapist really helps sanity levels. Candy Crush! Tamagotchis! Whatever your jam is!
Stationery! I realise I touched on this with my earlier Paperchase explosion, but we’re coming back to it because STATIONERY. Pens, rulers, notebooks – whatever you use every day, having something that you’ve bought yourself and are doing your way can really help. For example, I have two notebooks – one sort of bullet journal style and one for rough notes – a tin pencil case, a pack of highlighters that look like pandas, and roughly a metric fuckton of pens. So many pens. So many colours. I also have several sticker packs and a tendency to doodle. I go look at stationery on lunch when I need something to cheer me up. S T A T I O N E R Y is what I’m saying. See the light.
What are some of the ways you feel like yourself when you’re at work? What nonsense app are you using for a three minute break? Comment it out!
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