Work as Therapy: How to Make Work Cathartic

Many of us have a negative attitude towards the idea of work. However, does it have to be this way? What if work could be a regenerative process?

Work as Therapy: How to Make Work Cathartic

Many of us have a negative attitude towards the idea of work. We see it as something that must be done and, for that matter, done as quickly as possible. Work is seen as the obstacle to our enjoyment, it’s seen as something that we must do before we can do what we want.

However, does it have to be this way? What if work could be a regenerative process? A process of healing, almost like the process of therapy.

I believe that with the right mindset and a few changes in our work methodology we can learn to enjoy work and make it into a therapeutic process.

Perfect your environment

We often underestimate the importance of our environment on our motivation and mindset. We don’t realize the effect of every little decorative decision because we often never think to make changes.

On this topic, the architect Brian Reed said, "Everything is designed but few things are designed well."

So experiment with your work space. Try adding more plants, more dynamic lighting, more color, and see how it impacts your working mentality.

Choose your own schedule

Another important aspect of enjoying what we’re doing is having some aspect of control over what we do. Of course, if we’re working on things for a particular job, we might not have control over this.

However, oftentimes we do have control over when we work on what. Designing a schedule for yourself through experimentation can be very useful in taking back some of this control.

Do you write better first thing in the morning? Or are you less creative at this time and should focus on more administrative tasks? All of this takes experimentation and it’s important to track your progress to figure out what works best for you.

Work on things that inspire you

Similarly to choosing when to work on things, it can also add some enjoyment if you have the luxury of choosing to work on things that inspire you.

I specifically say inspire because that is where long term motivation and commitment is cultivated.

While some people might choose projects that correlate directly with making money,  finding what truly inspires you—even if it seems out of reach—is where work can truly become transformative and healing.

Create what you consume

If you’re looking for a hobby or side hustle but don’t know where to start it can be helpful to look at what you consume the most of. If you’re constantly reading, it might be a good idea to write a book. If you’re always eating it might be helpful to learn to cook or even start an online bakery business. If you’re always watching TV or YouTube, maybe it’s time to start a YouTube channel or write a script.

Creating what you consume is very regenerative for our work mentality because oftentimes it teaches us to appreciate the things we love in a different way. We learn to appreciate the work and because we already have a love for the end result, we can often easily form a vision of what we want from the final product.

Be consistent

Last but most importantly, you need to be consistent in your work. Work is difficult, that’s ultimately what makes it work. It is not gratifying in the short term and this is why it is so easy to put off.

However, if we stick with our goals and work towards them consistently while experimenting with these various ideas we will slowly learn to enjoy the process.

Particularly with creative work, consistency will teach us to keep diving inward to create more, and this is where we can start to learn things about ourselves that can be transformative.

The stoic Seneca said on the concept of work, “Work nourishes noble minds.”

So let’s get to work and find a way to make it enjoyable.