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Ten Things To Make You Whistle While You Work

Congratulations! You survived Labor Day Weekend, and off to work you go! After posting for the umpteenth time, “I love my work!” to my various Social Media platforms, I realized I had a blogpost bubbling up inside of me. Do you know how many hours of your life you’ll spend in the world of work? Someone did an average calculation for you on

A man expected to live to age 78 will have lived a total of 683,760 hours (counting 20 leap days). If he starts work at age 22 after college, works 37.5 hours per week until age 65 with three weeks vacation per year, he will work a total of 106,575 hours during his lifetime, or roughly 15.5 percent of his life.

You too can whistle all the way to work with these tips to keep it happy.

If you are in a startup, work a corporate job with long hours, have an entrepreneur position on the side, or combine business travel with leisure, you can see how some people will work more than 20% of his or her life. Adding on the fact that many people are financially unprepared to retire at age 65, work ends up being a quarter of your life spent. In light of this, here are my top ten things you can do to make you whistle while you work.

Ten Things To Make You Whistle While You Work

1. Select and stay in jobs that allow you to do what you love. As a job evolves, pay attention to if and when it morphs into something you do NOT love. If you have the choice and means to change your job, do it.

2. Know when a job isn’t worth staying at, and have an exit strategy. When you can’t figure out the benefit of staying, carefully plan your exit strategy, including money saved for time off, a few month’s rent or mortgage prepered, and lining up another job or return to school for more education.

3. Consider eating healthy part of your work day. When the job is great, eating healthy makes a difference to the enjoyment of the world of work. If you eat alone, try eating with others once a week. If food is greasy or fatty, look into higher fiber and lower fat options that keep you satisfied but not sleepy.

4. Don’t sit all day. Last time I checked, our bodies were not made for sitting all day. Plan in times to stretch, walk, stand, or even lightly exercise during breaks. [I am a big fan of air squats and crunches, thus the yoga mat stored in my office].

5. Shorten or change your commute. If driving makes you batty, look into rideshares, public transportation, or working flexible hours that move your commute out of the worst times of day. [My commute is short, but I recently added bicycling to work for a change of pace].

6. Make it social. Many employees note that one of the most satisfying elements of their work are the friendships made. Lost friendships is also a common complaint when people either lose their jobs, retire, or resign. Where appropriate, get to know other employees on a more social level.

7. Take your vacation, and use sick leave appropriately. Sometimes a “mental health day” is a good choice! Just know you can’t declare your need of one in the midst of a big company project or deadline. Sit down with your calendar, loved one, and a list of “black out” days, and plan ahead.

When you are sick, you are… SICK. I have watched sick clients drag themselves to work, exhausted, worthless in terms of productivity, and primed to share their virus with others. I admit that I’ve seen and experienced this first hand in medical clinics, and the risk is severe. Last year’s flu season, while late, was very long. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t teach your brain to associate work with the sacrifice of your health and risk to others.

8. Use your benefits. If you don’t have any, set aside money from your paychecks for the express purpose of paying for services you need to feel good. Benefits may include chiropractic work, massage, acupuncture, and behavioral health visits.

9. Transition to and from work. If possible, listen to music, refrain from jumping into work from home, leave house woes at home, and limit personal conversations to breaks. Give respect to your body: it isn’t a pinball machine. Gentle and gradual transitions work better than abrupt changes.

If you work from home, be creative about creating transitions and marking off workspace that identifies when you are working and when you are not. While working from home can be enjoyable, it also has its downfalls. For a humorous look at the perils of working from home, check out Matt Inman’s adorable comic on the subject.

10. Grow with your job, and become a life long learner. Anything missing along your job path? Are there goals at the end of your work path that would help you feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction if they were met? While you may have done your job for 5,10, and 15 years, it may not be too late to add other dimensions to your work.

One change I am looking forward to: becoming a supervisor to another emerging clinician. Recognizing my love of teaching, writing, and mentoring, I’m going to be earning my CEU’s to beome a state-approved supervisor. I’m also working on a book, and preparing to become a speaker on a couple of topics for CEU courses in my field. By adding on, my love for my work continues to grow, and my investment in others gives me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

What makes you whistle while you work? Feel free to share your comments, or send an offline response to for anonymous posting.

By Imei Hsu

Imei Hsu is a mental health counselor, active retired RN, AIP Coach and PN1-NC, writer, triathlete and arts promoter in the Seattle area and through online services. With 30+ years in healthcare (22+ years in mental health), Imei has a commitment to helping people discover insight into their health, relationships, and connecting. She is the owner of Seattle Direct Counseling and the blog, a presenter and speaker on a variety of psychological topics, and a positive force on the Internet. She launched her personal project, My Allergy Advocate, in 2018. Imei is a two-time Ironman Finisher (Mont-Tremblant 2016, Ironman Canada 2018); she also finished her first ultramarathon in 2017 and has gone on to race the 100K distance while preparing for 100 Mile trail races and a backyard ultra. You can find her running everywhere and eating all the thingz, watching movies, camping under the stars, and cooking real food.

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