Work/Life Balance

21 Mini-Mantras For When You’re Feeling Like You Want To Give Up On Work

By | Thursday, April 28, 2016


Over the past year and a half, I’ve taken on a lot of things, professionally, that I’ve never done, or even wanted to do, in my life. And this is not to complain or to say I don’t love running TFD (I absolutely do!), but rather that the act of being an entrepreneur in pretty much any capacity involves a lot of “doing everything, even the shit you’re scared of.” It means a lot of administrative stuff, business stuff, logistical stuff, managerial stuff, planning stuff. It means a lot of tasks that were never your domain and don’t interest you, but which fall to you to get done, because you can’t rely on a boss or leader to take them over. (In my case, I have a partner, which is a lot more than most, but still, we’re only two people to make sure all of the various bucks stop with us.)

This means that there are a lot of times that we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed. There have been occasions where Lauren and I were working on a big project until late at night on a holiday, taking turns sobbing because there was no way we were going to get it all finished in time, and we just wanted to give up. (We got it finished in time, and it was a big success — one we will hopefully be announcing soon.) And there have been other times when we’ve been listening to someone explain to us basics of things like legal stuff, accounting stuff, tech stuff, and we can feel ourselves glaze over as we realize we may never truly “get it” on the level we’re supposed to. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and under-qualified for a lot of our responsibilities, and I personally have had many teary-eyed talks with Marc while lying awake in bed, wondering how I’ll get through a particularly tough week.

But it’s important for us (and myself, especially) to remember just how universal work stress can be. Yes, it can be particularly hard when you’re starting your own business, but it’s also just part of having a job. It’s easy to put on the rose-colored lenses when it comes to looking back on my old jobs as part of a staff, with a team, bosses, and all the other relative comforts of the (at least semi-) corporate world. But the truth is that I experienced a lot of stress and anxiety at that time, too, and there were many times at various jobs (especially as my responsibility increased) that I suffered mini-breakdowns. “I can’t do this anymore,” said through tears and a glass of wine, is not new to me as an entrepreneur, even if I want to think it is.

To that end, I’ve created some mini-mantras that I force myself to remember when I’m feeling overwhelmed, impatient, or just generally incredibly stressed. They are important to putting things in perspective, slowing down, and appreciating what I have. I also spoke to several professional women I respect about their own little words of wisdom they remind themselves of when they are on the brink of giving up. Here are 21 of our best mini-mantras:

1. “Everyone is busy. Be kind.”

2. “Whatever you need to look forward to to keep you motivated through the day is valid. Even if it’s just making yourself a huge bowl of popcorn and a fruity drink.”

3. “Nothing is forever, if you don’t want it to be.”

4. “Your coworkers are people, too. Ask them about something other than when they’re going to get you that thing you’re waiting on.”

5. “Playing hooky for a mental health day doesn’t make you a bad person — if you have to work around the system that doesn’t respect ‘I need to take a day to not be at work or I’ll have a breakdown,’ that’s not your fault.”

6. “Be as patient with other people’s work as you would want them to be with yours.”

7. “No job would be the perfect job that doesn’t ever feel like work — yes, even that magical dream job you have in your head.”

8. “Always have at least one friend outside of work who truly gets it. They’re not too close to the situation to turn everything into a gossip-fest, but they are perceptive and similar enough to relate and give real feedback.”

9. “Whatever your problems at work are, be grateful that they can often be solved via typing something on a computer from a comfortable desk chair.”

10. “Take your mental health as seriously as your physical health. Find your mental equivalent of Emergen-C (bath salts? corny movies? frozen Girl Scout cookies?) and stock up.”

11. “Set your boundaries — how you are treated, your work/life balance, etc — and keep them. Learn that sometimes leaving is the kindest thing you can do to yourself.”

12. “Let he who has not opened an email with ‘Sorry for the delay!’ cast the first stone.”

13. “It’s okay to change your mind about what your ‘dream’ is. In fact, it’s healthy.”

14. “Treat your work tasks like a workout: When you’re getting close to the finish line around 4 PM and can feel your energy flagging, pump yourself up with a great playlist and muscle through those last little bits.”

15. “Get over your fear of saying ‘no.’ The person who can’t say ‘no’ is the person who will end up doing everything.”

16. “Fill your calendar with the things you’re looking forward to as much as your deadlines.”

17. “Stretch.”

18. “Whenever you feel a complaint coming on, force yourself to take it through to its logical end: What can I do about it? How can I make it tangibly better, instead of just feeling badly about it?”

19. “Say kind things. Give compliments. Be compassionate in your criticism. Remember how much the right package can change what is being delivered.”

20. “Force yourself to say what you’re proud of, and grateful for.”

21. “Always know what you’re working for, and keep it in the front of your mind.”

Image via Pexels

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