A reporter recently asked us about relationships in the workplace. It has always been our firm belief that isolation is a formidable weapon for bullies except in the face of trusting, authentic work friendships. We recently reviewed cupping and other wellness therapies, but why bother with all that if you can just goof off with your work buddies?
We tend to over complicate in our culture. All the wellness initiatives and brilliant relationship help from people like us tends to be irrelevant if you can just be part of a healthy team–hopefully one more qualified than the tug of war team above who lost in five seconds flat. And that brings us to Obama and Biden.
Unlike his two most recent predecessors, President Obama’s personality seems to draw strength from solitude instead of the presence of others. It would make sense for him to withdraw from the sincere but admittedly bumbling nature of his vice president. Whether or not we agree with their policies, we can clearly see that Obama and Biden decided to compliment each other’s traits rather than push for conformity–a looser President or more scripted VP. Realize that in the workplace, those who seem to share the least in common with you may become your greatest allies. We refuse to start spouting off “synergy” and other buzzwords, but success comes easier when employees are enjoying themselves.
What if the enjoyment stops when we start competing for a position or the boss’s favor? The wise action when pursuing friendships with coworkers is to match vulnerability. If you are talking about how the last meeting made you feel deep inside but your coworker’s conversation is as intimate as the last company newsletter, someone must adjust. Always leave the door open to go deeper, because if toxicity or bullying enters the workplace, employees feel trapped unless they already have coworkers with whom they can share their situation openly and freely. Have you had an experience like that? Start today by not automatically answering, “Fine” when asked about your weekend, but take it slow: no need to start with,
“Michelle made me sleep on the couch in the Oval Office for smoking behind her back and I think Malia’s hurt and angry that I blamed that weird smell from Sunny the dog on her.”
Lastly, the effects from a warm office friendship ripple past the two of you. For proof, look no farther than the “Barry and Joe” memes that are still the best thing online.
Expanding wellness for employees is a noble and necessary task. Many large corporations we’ve visited post signs telling employees they can confidentially talk to someone in employee health about their problems and receive free psychiatric screening. It’s not that America’s workforce is routinely committing suicide or going postal over their jobs, but it’s difficult to attract good talent to replace those who couldn’t take it anymore and abruptly quit. The problem is that without a holistic approach, nothing changes. The treatment of dissatisfied employees is like typical pain management in this country: “Here’s a pill that will cover up your symptoms for a while, so leave us alone.”
Although we are going to briefly talk about alternative medicine today, this isn’t one of those seemingly normal blog posts that suddenly disintegrate into calling all pharmaceuticals poisonous. They can and do work effectively as part of an overall plan for wellness. It’s important to note, however, that many antidepressants, anxiolytics, and other drugs meant to fix altered brain chemistry are primarily for symptoms with unknown etiology–meaning that you feel bad but it’s not linked to a specific situation in your life. Drill down to the root cause. Otherwise, you might accept a new job elsewhere, but your Zoloft is going with you.
So what is a holistic approach to taking care of yourself at work? Litigation, complaining to HR, and changing jobs aren’t always options, and they certainly won’t decrease stress in the short term. Medications potentially affecting alertness can decrease performance, so we’ve ruled out that approach as a magic bullet. It takes a combination of therapies and a philosophy that understands that physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects are all one: compartmentalizing work life doesn’t work long term.
With that in mind, read this article by one of our founders comparing complementary and alternative medicine to conventional philosophies. http://nursing.advanceweb.com/CE/TestCenter/Content.aspx?CourseID=1178&CreditID=1&CC=287295&sid=3835
Maybe a relaxing magnesium drink or Epsom salt bath will help you unwind better than the wine you’re dependent on. Perhaps probiotics and a better diet can level out your energy levels throughout the day better than multiple cups of coffee. For others, yoga and Eastern medicine provide an outlet for work stress, or corporate sport events like the one pictured below. We at BEHAVE Wellness are here for you, and unlike employee health, it’s not for the ultimate goal of making you as profitable as possible for the company. How do you keep yourself from becoming overburdened by work?
A Peculiar First Blog Post
This isn’t conventional. Normally, websites launch with vision statements, enthusiastic projections arching from today to the glorious future, moving personal stories, or at least a professional list of how indispensable they are. Instead, here’s a strange picture.
The truth is, some of us never grow up. I haven’t, obviously, but I’m referring to bullying behaviors not much different from picking on the weirdest kid in dodge ball. Unfortunately, knowing how to deal with these playground issues is much harder as adults. The bell won’t ring to signal the end of recess or PE. Retirement is a lot farther away than graduation from the sixth grade, especially if you find yourself constantly biting your tongue or bravely defending yourself from perceived attacks. So, what’s the best response?
Getting some friends together and beating up the bully would be hard to explain at your next job interview. Besides, responding with similar behavior would be visibly hypocritical. We can’t really tell the teachers about the problem, and there’s a reason one of our taglines here at BEHAVE Wellness is “Human Resources That Won’t Tell on You.”
What weapons do you use to fight bullying, targeting, and sabotage? Let me know in the comments–you might even find a satire story there based on the idea of basing work decisions on childish games. Even more formidable than a slightly deflated dodge ball (those sting more, you know) is knowledge. Know your policies, rights, and who you can trust. Find helpful resources such as the one you’re reading now, and get to know yourself. What makes you tick and what ticks you off? Conquering self-bullying tactics and toxic emotions is pivotal. Even if we’re only good at catching, or throwing, or dodging the ball, remember that recess is supposed to be fun, even in the corporate world.
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