How can you tell if you are unhappy at work? Ask your body...

So tell me, are you happy at work?

Now tell me - do you suffer with any of the following?

  • Stiff neck

  • Stiff shoulders

  • Headache

  • Tummy ache

  • Back ache

  • Feel free to add your own suggestion here

Have you ever thought the two could be related? I’ll go one step further -

Have you ever considered that by asking yourself that question and listening to the answer the symptom might go away?


I’ve spent the majority of my life thinking my mind was my strongest tool when it came to my job, and that’s what made me good at it. I gave the impression of complete confidence and control. Decisive, logical and rational.

The flip side? I kept a dirty little secret; that my emotions and feelings could (and did) often get the better of me. Behind closed doors, self doubt reigned with high expectations and a healthy dose of comparing myself to others, frequently leading to melt down and overwhelm. Blugh.

In my career there was always a point where I become more and more unhappy. I would say yes when I meant no. I would give up my time for others. I’d miss lunch breaks, take on more than I could handle and feel overly responsible for just about everything.

I suffered with frequent migraines, an overactive mind that went into overdrive at night, tiredness, stiff shoulders, sore feet, and a bloated and uncomfortable tummy. These symptoms became a normal part of my day to day working life.

So what did I do? I left. Started a new job. Felt better for a while. Repeated the cycle.

Fast forward to 2014. I started to get serious about taking responsibility for my own life, behaviour and actions. I also started to practise Yoga and think about shit in a Holistic way. Looking for a new job and reflecting on my career so far I began to realise my body had been trying to tell me that I was unhappy at work.

I didn’t want that to happen again. I now had two young children to care and set an example for. I wanted things to be different. Slowly but surely I started to listen to my body.

And I didn’t always like what it had to say.

But, once I started to make some space for me, notice the unhelpful patterns I was stuck in and accept that my mind, body and emotions all had something equally important to say about the work I wanted to do, well then I started to create a new perspective on my career.

Is your body screaming for attention? Want some help finding out?

Here are my my top 5 things that enabled me to listen to what my body thought about my career.

  1. Yoga - or as I like to call it Magic. I like Hatha & Yin Yoga as it slows things down, is gentle, forgiving and challenging. At home I like to do Yoga in my PJ’s, in class I put on normal clothes.

  2. Breathing - who thought you could do this wrong! Learning how to be conscious of my breathing cured my bloated tummy and I use breathing technique everyday. From controlling my nerves to being patient with my kids.

  3. Journalling - writing it down and getting it out is a tonic. I use journalling to track how my body is feeling, what thoughts are persistent and how I’m feeling. It’s easy then to pick up on patterns.

  4. Going for a walk - getting out in nature on a daily basis is the best thing I can do for myself. It gets all my senses involved, gives me fresh perspective and always makes me feel better in myself.

  5. Laugh! Seriously, have fun and let your body do something it loves.

I wish you and your body a flexible and easy workday my friend.

Lisa Townsend