When we’re exhausted, there’s little room for joy. Everything is a slog, and it’s hard to find the proverbial silver lining anywhere. Being joyless deprives us of the energetic smiles and laughs that make customer interactions that much more enjoyable for us and them. But what are the actionable steps we can take to bring back the joy that our service fatigue has robbed from us?
The single best thing we can do is deceptively simple: we create the joy. (And by the way, if “joy” isn’t the appropriate sentiment for your line of work, feel free to swap in something more suitable: satisfaction, gratitude, fulfillment.) Joy isn’t just waiting around for us to discover it; sometimes we have to make it ourselves in order to get back on track in other aspects of our lives.
Creating joy and happiness in life and work isn’t just about mental health, either. It impacts our physical health as well! Neurobiologists have found accumulating evidence that having a positive perspective can lower your cortisol levels and systolic blood pressure. The articles and facts are lengthy so let’s just summarize it to say: Joy=Health.
When you’re exhausted and lacking the joy you want to have in your work, it can seem impossible to get it back. Here are three actionable steps you can take today to find more joy immediately.
Step 1: When in doubt, Google.
This is no joke. Just Google the phrase “simple ways to find joy in your life” and you will find pages of suggestions that can reminde us what we already know but may have forgotten. Things like appreciating what you DO have, surrounding yourself with positive people, laughing more, or creating a work “bucket list” of the professional achievements you’re excited about.
Dance party for one to start your day? Sure! Writing with a colored pen instead of black or blue? Go for it! You may think that these are cliché or just silly suggestions, but ask yourself: are you doing them? Can one of these simple acts maybe make a real difference? Simple is a great place to start when you’ve got nothing to lose and joy to gain.
Step 2: Take a Retreat!
This can be for your team or just for you, whichever you need more right now. I’ve been advocating for (and personally doing!) both for nearly thirty years. In fact, I love this concept so much that I wrote a whole book about it, a guide to help you get away and get a plan to get back to your joy.
For me, the most enlightening moments always come when I realize that the things bothering me the most are actually more in my control than I realize. The key is to break it down, whatever it is that you need to do to find your joy. I’m sharing my whole step-by-step retreat plan in my live virtual event on March 11, and though your plan might look a bit different in practice, the result is always the same: create the environment for joy, because it will never just appear on its own.
Step 3: Inventory Your Happy
OK…you don’t want to (or can’t) take a retreat right now? No problem. There’s an exercise in my book, Wrapped in Stillness, that you can do to help get an idea of the happiness that already exists in your life. Get the chapter right here and start today. The exercise asks you to inventory the things in your life that make you happy each day for five days, and then asks nine vital questions whose answers may just surprise you .
I did it once and thought I knew what the results would be. But was I wrong! The exercise convinced me to completely rethink how I structure my calendar in order to restore a sense of joy in my days, and therefore in my work and personal life. I firmly believe that where we put our time is where we find our joy. Sure, not sweating the small stuff helps, but prioritizing our time and attention is really the secret.
So, go ahead and take a moment to consider how you can bring back joy to your life and work. Consider all three steps I shared today. Google some new ideas. Take a retreat, even if you can only spare an hour a week. Do the exercise from Wrapped in Stillness and discover where you really find happiness.
And you know what would bring ME joy? Hearing from you after you have done these things and letting me know how it made an impact in your customer service delivery. If you are serious about busting out of service fatigue, it starts with restoring the joy that’s costing you so much energy and attention.