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  • Writer's pictureAmy Donovan (BNatMed)

Do you whistle while you work, or feel the daily dread?

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

The start of each working year can be rather kind here in NZ.

We have 4 weeks over a period of 7 weeks punctuated by public holidays.

This can provide a nice start to the year by giving us space and time to get used to the prospect that we may be heads-down-bum-up for another 12 months.

(Although, I don’t advise this and recommend scheduling in regular breaks – but I could and will write a blog about this later.)

So, if your workplace or type of work you do are giving you anxiety and causing stress rather than fulfillment, it’s time to check in with those thoughts and feelings rather than going any further into a bright shiny new year feeling far from joyful.

Perhaps it is a means to an end job?

Then you must make it work for you!

Don’t wake up every morning begrudging going to work

because this only makes you feel worse.

I know this feeling and behavior intimately from so many jobs that I dreaded going to mainly because of workplace bullying, negative culture and poor management.

In the end that feeling of dread was there

whether I decided to be positive about it or not.

So, I decided that I would rather feel positive and I pushed hard to turn a negative situation in to a more positive one – a kind of eudaemonism,

choosing to live life well irrespective of the emotional state it was causing.

I chose to focus on the attributes I could benefit from such as what the job was:

1. teaching me – skills, patience, tolerance, humility, assertiveness, humour, etc

2. providing me – that this job is providing me an income to achieve x, y, z

3. supporting me – with training to develop skills; while I work towards my dream...

Make it your mission each morning to focus on at least one positive aspect of your job when you are getting ready.

This takes your power back, rather than feeling powerless in the situation –

you are now making it work for you!

Is it something you have studied to do

and it is not delivering what you expected?

*If this is you, be sure to read N.B. point at end of article!

Give yourself praise each morning for being able to commit to that study and education to get you that job. It is bloody tough, and you did it!

Then assess your strengths.

These will be evident in the tasks that you most enjoy

and that seem to come naturally to you.

The ones no-one must ask you to do because you are already jumping to do them.

Look at the parts of your work you do enjoy and begin to implement things to be able to slant your job more towards that direction.

It may be one small thing daily that moves you in the right direction.

You may even be able to discuss with your employer what you are most passionate about there, and to consider including you in any discussions/tasks that involve the aspects of your job where your strengths can shine.

Perhaps it is a career that you once loved

but are now feeling unfulfilled by?

*Be sure to read N.B. point at end of article!

- What was it that got you into that career in the first place?

- What are your skills/talents in your role?

- Can you specialize by drawing on your biggest talents and strengths

and develop a business opportunity from this?

- What is it that really spins your wheels?

All these questions may bring up a variety of answers that don’t even correspond to the career you have now and that’s OK!

We are allowed to change.

Just like things in nature change with the seasons,

we have seasons where a situation, relationship, behavior

may have once suited us perfectly

and then something changes.

Rather than battling away (or running away!)

we are best to look it squarely in the eye and addressing

exactly what may have changed, and what we are prepared to do about it.

Clocking out

Whatever your work situation

- even when things are going well -

spending some time reflecting on what you want more of

and what you want less of this coming year is always beneficial.

It helps to create clarity and gives you a sense of direction.

It can also help to take your power back

in a situation where you may feel you ‘just have to turn up’.

We spend on average around ¼ of each week

(for increasingly more people it is longer than this, with commuting, overtime, etc)

so it is vital for us to find fulfillment in this chunk of time each week.

We may still decide to continue with the same occupation and vocation,

but at least we have given it a fair review rather than continuing with the blinders on.


A key point that I want to make is that work burnout is a very real thing

and can be disguised with those feelings of dissatisfaction, anxiety, unhappiness, dread, stress, etc.

You can take a simple test here to assess your risk of workplace burnout here.

What else can you to help yourself?

In any mental health situation the “stressor” is best avoided,

but with our financial situation relying so heavily on showing up to work this sometimes is not an option.

Dropping the mic and walking out of a job

is generally not the most productive way forward either!

There are plenty of lifestyle changes we can incorporate to assist our ability to perceive a stressful job differently.

Yoga; guided meditation; regular exercise; time in nature; reflective journaling; and time that is just for fun are some of the lifestyle changes

that have helped me on my journey.

Eating well also helps me when I feel most stretched mentally and emotionally.

There are also herbs e.g. Withania; Rhodiola; Schisandra

and nutrients e.g. B vitamins; Magnesium; Omega oils

that can really help raise energy, boost mental health

and assist our resilience to better cope with stress and pressure.

See your Naturopath, Medical Herbalist or other health practitioner if this is something you would like to incorporate into your health journey.

If raising your energy, or your capacity to cope with stress is something you would like to explore please contact to arrange a FREE 15 minute discovery call to assess whether an holistic approach to your health.

Amy x

Amy Donovan is a qualified and registered Naturopath, Medical Herbalist and Massage Therapist working from her private clinic in Te Awamutu, New Zealand.

References used:

Bone, K. (2003). A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs: Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient. London, United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone.

Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2014). Herbs & Natural Supplements, Volume 2: An Evidence-based Guide. Marrickville, Australia: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Harzer, C., & Ruch, W. (2015). The relationships of character strengths with coping, work-related stress, and job satisfaction. Frontiers In Psychology, 6. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00165

Hechtman, L. (2018). Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Chatswood, Australia: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Lang, J., Kern, M., & Zapf, D. (2016). Retaining High Achievers in Times of Demographic Change. The Effects of Proactivity, Career Satisfaction and Job Embeddedness on Voluntary Turnover. Psychology, 07(13), 1545-1561. doi: 10.4236/psych.2016.713150

Pennock, S. (2019). Eudaimonia: Personal Happiness According to the Greeks. Retrieved from

Rattan, A., & Dweck, C. (2018). What happens after prejudice is confronted in the workplace? How mindsets affect minorities’ and women’s outlook on future social relations. Journal Of Applied Psychology, 103(6), 676-687. doi: 10.1037/apl0000287

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