tiny moments of joy add up

Make Work Suck Less

New this week from the home office

Hi Reader,

Tis the season for reflection and I've been thinking A LOT about the past year or so. So much as happened.

Not the least of which was me being 'unhinged on main.'

I started writing the #makeworksuckless newsletter in September 2022, but it really began a long time ago. Let's call it 2009.

It started with a feeling. Of being undervalued and undermined. Burned out beyond self-recognition and self-worth.

That feeling transformed into conviction. That things could and should be better. Even if not perfect.

Which became a rally cry. Of me no longer holding back. Leading the way—my strategy, my approach, my personality.

That's where it turned into a blog. Peeling apart the layers of what it means to really make work suck less:

  • Burnout prevention
  • Career pivots with purpose
  • Thrive in your role

The blog drew a community. So many who will no longer accept anything less than their worth.

These amazing humans encouraged a book. You Got This was borne entirely on the confidence I've built because of their support.

Now it's a Movement.

Welcome to the movement, friend. So glad you found your way here. Let's make work suck less in 2024.

speaking of making work suck less

Last week I saw a post in LinkedIn that listed out the benefits of the four happiness chemicals and how to hack them.

It got me thinking, an afternoon quickie to stimulate oxytocin (the love hormone) probably wouldn't go over too well at work.

But how could we hack these chemicals in a safe-for-work way when your boss is micromanaging you, or when your coworker undermines you in front of your team, or you wake up on the wrong side of the bed but still need to get on with it?

So today I'm sharing some simple tricks to hack your brain for more joy at work (when you desperately need it cause the coffee is NOT doing it's job, damn it).

tiny moments of joy

Work is stressful and draining – but what if you could hack your brain for more joy at work? You absolutely can, and it all comes down to four happy chemicals: Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin.

Speaking from personal (and very recent) experience, knowing how and when to hack these four happiness chemicals at work is a critical tool for me not losing my shitmaking it suck less.

endorphins: for stress + pain

Endorphins act as analgesics, which simply means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. But how do you stimulate Endorphins at work?

  1. Laughter. It can be as simple as laughing with colleagues. Laughter is a natural producer of Endorphins. So, consider sharing a good (work appropriate) joke or a funny story during your break.
  2. Indulge. You can also indulge in your favorite latte. Yes, certain foods and drinks can stimulate the production of Endorphins. Raise your hand if you also had a giant bag of emergency Swedish Fish in your desk.

dopamine: pleasure + reward

Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. You can stimulate its production at work a few ways.

  1. Achievable goals. Set small, achievable goals. When you achieve these goals, your brain releases Dopamine, and you feel great.
  2. Small wins. Keep track of your wins is by adding them to your "You Got This" folder. This simple act of recognition can do wonders for your mood. *My inner ISTJ list-maker nods sagely*
  3. Music. Listen to music while you work. Music has been found to have a positive effect on our mood, largely due to the release of Dopamine. My go-to’s are the playlists in the Calm app and right now, holiday music.

serotonin: mood regulation

Serotonin is a hormone that helps regulate your mood (which feels in short supply when your toddler spends the morning in goblin mode and then you get to work as Not Your Best Self). There are several ways to stimulate Serotonin at work.

  1. Gratitude. Send a 'thank you' note to someone. This simple act of gratitude can boost your Serotonin levels and make you feel better.
  2. Sunlight. Another way is to take a call out on a walk and let the sunlight do it’s thing. 1x1 meetings are great opportunities for both attendees to take a screen break.
  3. Yummy food. Eat a tasty lunch away from your desk. Added bonus is you getting a break from your work environment, and the loud salad muncher in the cube next door.

oxytocin: social connection

Oxytocin is often called the "love hormone" because it's released when people bond socially. Since we’re not doing the dirty at work, what else can you do?

  1. Connect. Grab a coffee with a work bestie. This simple social interaction can boost your Oxytocin levels.
  2. Furry friends. If you have a pet-friendly office, pet the office dog. Animals have been found to trigger the release of Oxytocin.
  3. Acts of service. Consider doing something nice for a coworker. Bring in birthday cupcakes, shout them out at team meeting, fix that annoying tech bug they’ve been trying to figure out. This act of kindness can stimulate the production of Oxytocin and make you feel good.

So, which of these "happy chemicals" do you think you need more of? Now, write down one thing you can do this week to get it flowing.

Start hacking your brain for more joy at work today!

coming soon!

You know that twilight zone between Christmas and New Years? I'm hosting free workshop on overcoming burnout.

If you feel like you've run out of hours in the day and f*cks to give, this one's for you.

Grab a tired work bestie and register for Break the Burnout Cycle: Your Blueprint for Balancing Work, Life, and Personal Growth on Thursday, December 28 at 2pm ET (during nap time, fingers crossed).

Let's start 2024 by making work suck less together.

Whatever this week brings, you got this.


113 Cherry St #92768, Seattle, WA 98104-2205
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Hi! I'm Cassandra Babilya.

I’m a mom, certified career coach, ex-spy, and corporate culture leader. I'm driven to make work suck less by helping women break the burnout cycle, pivot with purpose, and thrive in their careers. I believe everyone deserves to wake up excited and energized for the day. Together, let's find the perspective you need to work, create, and build from a place of joy, not dread. #makeworksuckless

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