25 Jan 2016

5 Ways To Wash Away The Work Blues

Christy Turlington photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, 5 Ways To Wash Away The Work Blues, vickiarcher.com

Do you ever get the work blues?

At times I feel uncertainty, indecision and a drop in motivation. It is never a permanent state and understanding the temporary nature of work blues is the first step back. It’s not about not liking what we do because hopefully most of us love what we do; sometimes a lull is simply that, a slowing down of interest.


A working life is a complicated one and like relationships requires nurturing. It is easy to take our working lives for granted, to get up every day and do the same thing without thinking about how much energy and time we put into this part of our life.

We focus on personal relationships and making those the best we can and yet our work, where we devote much of our mental energy, oftentimes gets neglected and becomes routine. I don’t mean that we should prioritise our work over our personal life but I am coming to the realisation that work blues are an inevitable state from time to time.

I don’t see the work blues as a negative. The trick is to run with them, make the most out of them and use them to our advantage.

The work blues can be beneficial because they allow us the time to re-think the way we spend our days and how we can work in the most efficient manner. A little mental downtime can foster creativity and help us figure out how to be the best we can.

When I am behind the game or suffering from the “blues” and we all have those days, I have a few practical ways to get a jump-start. 

Christy Turlington photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, 5 Ways To Wash Away The Work Blues, vickiarcher.comChristy Turlington photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, 5 Ways To Wash Away The Work Blues, 5 Ways To Wash Away The Work Blues, vickiarcher.com

5 Ways To Wash Away the Work Blues

  1. 1. Find the trigger that sets the right mood.
  2. When I have a “quiet” period I have one way that gets the creative moving. I pretend I am writing a newsy letter to a girlfriend and invariably the story telling stimulates ideas and gets the words flowing.
  3. Little rituals like an organised desk and a delicious jasmine tea will put me in the mind-set to be more productive.

  4. 2. Changing venue
  5. Some days we need to get outside or change location if possible. My girls and I have decided this year to walk and talk; brainstorm on the move. If this isn’t possible then walking to work or taking an exercise class at lunch will help. It is about breaking routine in whatever way works for you.

  6. 3. Teach Yourself Something New
  7. Whatever your field there is always the opportunity to learn something new. Take the challenge.
  8. For me the challenge is the technical side of what I do, working in the backend. I try and learn some tech and a little bit of coding every week.

  9. 4. Start A New Project
  10. Put that learning to good work and start a side project that enhances what you do. Creating is good for the soul and can only make the everyday better.

  11. 5. Share Your Knowledge
  12. Teaching someone in your field not only helps them but also makes what we do feel more exciting.
  13. Whenever I have my lovely interns in I find I am so much more enthusiastic and re-invigorated. So much becomes remote control when we don’t mix up the routine.

  14. images christy turlington by patrick demarchelier

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Anita Rivera

I agree 100% with these tactics. This is truly how I survive the working blues. I am fortunate that as a teacher, I can be CREATIVE on the spot. I also try to remember that what I do in my job is NOT all of me; my job is only a fraction of who I am. And….dressing as such with a fab black and white combo can make anyone happy on the spot! Have a super walk and brainstorming session, Vicki! Anita

Linda B

How I miss the creativity of being in the classroom! Never a dull moment, eh? Now, in the realm of pedagogical administrator, I am flooded with handling people’s complaints day in and out, and some I can’t solve so I am frustrated. I am not in control of what comes at me–no “lesson planning” to at least somewhat know what is ahead everyday!

I am going to have to contemplate Vicki’s suggestions, to see how they can be adapted to my situation. There might be a way. . .


Sounds difficult Linda, especially trying to keep people happy and solve problems when they are beyond your control…
I hope the suggestions help.. the “learning” and “getting outside” strategies might be adaptable?? :)

Linda B

I do have the opportunity to get outside, but certainly, I often realize I need even more. Sometimes I walk between ends of the campus rather than phone someone or write an email, just to get outside a bit–my school is in a very beautiful location and that helps!

I also have an idea for something new I want to learn–painting on silk. I just need to make time and space. This is a good reminder to work on that sooner than later.

Thanks so much for the encouragement, Vicki!


Brilliant Linda, Maybe we should all try and tackle a new project…set ourselves a challenge… and find the time for it!
We so often put our ideas on the back burner because work or other priorities take over… this year we must arrange things differently.. :)
You have encouraged me too…


Great point, Anita… I need to remind myself that work is not 100% of everything… I am a bit inclined that way!
Probably because I do enjoy it so much… :)


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