Don’t button your lip on the most depressing day of the year

iStock_000009536170XSmallI spent most of yesterday trying unsuccessfully to fix an Apple Time Capsule that all of a sudden doesn’t want to talk to my Mac. Mid-afternoon, I came up for air and, realising I was losing a beautiful day of sunshine, persuaded Steve to come out for a walk with me. We ended up popping into our local Costa for afternoon tea and cake. To treat ourselves after having been snowed in for ten days.

On the few Sundays we’ve been in before it has normally been quite quiet, but yesterday I couldn’t believe how busy it was! Not only that but I was astonished by how much food we were all packing away. Large hot chocolates with whipped cream and all the toppings were going down well as were muffins, carrot cake and caramel shortcake. People who couldn’t get tables were getting take-aways. I know this is pretty much the norm in the city, but it’s unheard of here.

“What on earth is going on?” I wondered.

And then it struck me: isn’t today what the scientists call the most depressing day of year?

It’s three weeks already since Christmas, the bills are coming in for all the debt we ran up in giving ourselves a great time, and it’s two weeks till we get paid again. Not only that but the novelty of the snow has passed, our New Year resolutions are already wearing thin, and there’s a whole lot more winter to get through before the Easter holidays are upon us. Add to that any dissatisfaction with work and you can quite understand why people were loading up on carbs.

With that in mind, I was really heartened an hour or so later to read a comment on my Friday post from Ayo Olaniyan, who writes over at Discovering Purpose. He’d caught a BBC news article that I’d missed that talked of the benefits of workers giving direct feedback to their bosses.

In a nutshell, researcher Emma Donaldson-Feidler has found that, such feedback can positively affect managers in a number of ways, for example by improving their ability to empathise, resolve conflict and cope with emotions.

Some people, including myself in the past, have been slow to speak up and offer feedback to difficult bosses, believing it’ll do more harm than good. But here was research that was saying the opposite. How cool!

So, guys, if you really are feeling blah today, and your boss is only adding to the problem, a word of advice. Don’t button your lip. Tell her or him, constructively of course, how their behaviour affects you and what they could do differently to be more helpful and supportive.

It seems that, not only can this allow you to feel better, it can have a positive affect beyond you too.

What do you think? Is this something you’ve done and with what results? I’m really keen to hear!

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  1. Hi Christine,
    As you know from an earlier comment on your blog, I have no problems speaking up if I feel my boss is condescending or disrespecting me. In fact, I do the same with others in my life as well. I’m not one to keep my mouth shut. If I did, then it would just fester inside. I agree that it makes sense for the worker to tell the boss how they feel. You may find out that the boss may think more of you if you speak your mind in a constructive manner.


    • Christine says:

      “You may find out that the boss may think more of you if you speak your mind in a constructive manner.”

      Good point, Bob. I suspect it helps you stand out from the crowd and indicates to your bosses that your nobody’s fool. It’s a mark of the true professional, isn’t it?

  2. Christine,
    Maybe it’s the mark of a fool but I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t speak up. It’s just my nature. You live by the sword and die by the sword, I guess… :-)

  3. Good advice as always Christine. Part of the difficulties I shared in the past with work was due to speaking up (something I have found hard in at times) but I don’t regret it at all, some people just don’t want to hear what’s really going on, all you can do is be true to yourself and be honest.

    • Christine says:

      Hi Jen,

      That’s interesting to hear. I guess, as you say, some people just don’t want to know what’s really going on. If that’s what you were faced with, it was brilliant that you found the courage to speak up nevertheless. You knew, come what may, you were being true to yourself. I admire your authenticity :)

  4. Hi Christine,
    I believe some times you’ve got to be diplomatic when trying to pass a message across to a boss or someone in authority.

    It may not be words all the time but actions/gestures could be useful mediums.

    Some people dont want to listen, others want to raise an argument and the rest wouldnt care less.

    I guess if you’ve studied the temperament of such bosses you could pass the message across constructively. I could be wrong though!!!

    I am blessed to work in a company where the directors, managers, supervisors all have healthy relationships with each member of staff. but it definitely wasnt like this in a few places I had worked before

    • That’s hugely valuable input, Ayo, and thanks for it as always.

      I’m happy to hear that you work in a place where relationships are healthy. It gives the message that it is, in fact, possible.

      And thanks too for your inspiration for this post in the first place. Much appreciated!

  5. Great advice.

    I think it’s all about communication really. Rather than just putting up with the status quo you have to (constructively) challenge.

    We had a problem at home recently. My wife and I have been together for 10 years, married for 2 and have 2 beautiful daughters. But we were taking each other for granted and not spending any real time together. We were lost in our own worlds, doing our own thing without realising that we’d lost us along the way.

    So just before xmas we sat down and talked it through for hours. We laughed. We cried. We decided that we wanted to both start appreciating each other. Now every night rather than me working all night, I spend some time with my family and my wife. When the kids have gone to bed if she has jobs to do I’ll do some writing and if she hasn’t then we’ll have sometime together.

    All it took was for us to stop putting up and accepting what was and for us to actually do something about it.

    • Christine says:

      I so agree with you, Ben, and thank you for sharing so openly your experience. I can sense from what you’ve said that it wasn’t easy to hang in on a tough conversation, but the resulting decision, that you both wanted to start appreciating one another, sounds undoubtedly worth it. How beautiful to have made yourselves important to one another again!

      Without communication, assumptions get made about what other people are thinking and feeling and about how things are that may well not be true. Challenging the status quo can be a real force for healing if we’re up for it.

  6. Archan Mehta says:

    Hello Christine:

    Just read your blog post about having to walk through snow.

    Gosh, I am sure glad you made it. A difficult journey in freezing cold. I am happy to know you have the strength of your convictions

    Yes, there are important life lessons here, but stay safe out there.

    And sorry to hear about the rough weather, but you adapted well.

    My best wishes to you and your family and keep on writing. Thanks

    • Christine says:

      Thanks for coming through to the site and sharing your good wishes, Archan. Much appreciated. I’m glad to say that the snow is completely gone now, so getting around normally is once again possible!!

      Sorry that you couldn’t leave your comment with the “snow” post – I was having terrible problems with WordPress yesterday and no sooner had I published the post but it “disappeared”. I think I’ve sorted the problem now.

      My best wishes also to you and your family.


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