While it's easy to focus on bettering oneself while taking time off (or doing something that you love), the workplace can sometimes be a different story. Hectic schedules, the pressure of deadlines, collaborating with challenging personalities, and even the act of striving for success can impact everything from your mood to your inner mantra.
While there are many things that are out of our control at work, making small changes to your environment can create large changes in the way you feel, helping to increase both positivity and productivity. Try incorporating a few of these simple tips to turn your office space into your happy place.
Clean House: Studies show that a messy desk space can not only hamper productivity, but can hamper your mood and make problems seem more overwhelming. Spend the extra 10 minutes to clean your space at the end of a workday, so you can arrive the next morning with a fresh start and a clear mindset.
Picture This: Does a photo of your family bring a smile to your face? Are you transported to your favorite vacation spot every time you see a certain mountaintop? Do you have a special place by the water or in a park that is full of good memories? Carefully selected visuals can serve as emotional cues, helping evoke memories and feelings of comfort that can lighten your perspective during stressful times. Picking an image of something that is deeply important to you and keeping a photo of it in your immediate space means you always have place you can “go to” when you need a quick mental break.
Break for Breath: While social coffee breaks or “taking 10” to chat on the phone can help pass the time at work, meditation can have a much deeper impact long term. Taking even just 10 minutes to meditate can help reset your outlook, clarify your thoughts and dissipate negativity. If you don't want to meditate, you can also practice some conscious breathwork, such as doing a series of deep inhales, followed by long, slow exhales. Did you know up to 70% of your body's detoxification happens through breath?
Snack Smart: Eating unhealthy foods (or forgetting to eat altogether) can negatively impact mental productivity and dull your mood. Keeping a stash of healthy, brain-boosting snacks on hand helps to not only stave off the threat of becoming “hangry,” but it also makes sure that your food choices support optimum performance. Superfoods like Goji Berries, Cacao and Chia are three examples of foods that have been scientifically shown to enhance mood and cognition.
Bring in the Life: Office environments can be notoriously sterile places, full of electronics, florescent lights and bleak furniture. To counterbalance this ho-hum energy, keep something on your desk that represents nature: a small plant, fresh flowers, seashells, etc. You can also incorporate a couple elemental items that soothe you at home, such as a candle or other aromatherapy tool, an inspirational quote, etc. You'll find your energy is much more grounded by carving out your own little area of zen.
Be the Positive Change: Most of all, the best thing you can do to enhance your workspace is by spreading the positive seed yourself. Vocally appreciate your co-workers. Pass out a compliment to someone you don't talk to much. Bring in a healthy snack to share in the lunchroom. Share some good gossip with a colleague (something genuinely good that is going on with yourself or someone else). Not only will you help brighten someone's day, but the next time you need a little bit of a mood boost, they may just return the favor.