Sometimes work just seems to drag, but the daily grind can be so easily improved with some really small changes. A tweak to your environment or habits can make all the difference between a normal day and a great one.
1. Decorate your space
When you were at school, did you express your style and personality through your stationery? Decorated pencil cases, folders and workbooks, carefully chosen coloured pens or sparkly pencil toppers – they all conveyed a little bit about you. These days your stationery choices are probably more practical, but there’s no reason why the ‘bits & bobs’ on your desk can’t reflect your personality.
Personalising your space doesn’t need to stop at stationery. Why not exercise your green thumb and put a plant near your desk? Indoor plants are thought to have a number of benefits, like reducing noise levels and purifying that stale air around you. Indoor plants have also been shown to reduce stress and increase productivity and a general sense of well-being.
Other uplifting options include positive quotes and photos on your wall or memorabilia which takes you back to that relaxing tropical holiday you took last year. Decorating office space at work is meant to make you smile, so your workday will be full of little cheery moments.
2. Take a break
Taking five minutes to step away from the hard slog can benefit your mood more than you might think. According to the Mental Health Foundation, a change of scenery can reduce stress, and that in itself is a useful tool to have.
Whether a few minutes of stretching your aching muscles, stepping outside for a moment of sunshine, or just visiting the coffee room for a pick-me-up, taking a break can energise you mentally and physically. Aftercare, an Australian support group focused on mental health, suggest taking five slow, deep breaths in and out. Almost like a mini-meditation, breathing exercises can improve your energy and reduce anxiety.
Taking a break might also include some time away from technology. For those addicted to social media, be aware that some studies show that it’s beneficial to mental health to step away for a short period of time. While it’s tempting to check in on your growing list of notifications, time spent outside or socialising in real life will leave you feeling better in the long run.
3. Be kind
“When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world.” – Harold Kushner
Performing a random act of kindness is a sure-fire way to improve someone’s day, but it will also leave you feeling great. With a little thought, incorporating acts of kindness into your work day can be quite simple. Try leaving some change taped to the vending machine for the next person or cleaning the microwave or the kitchen bench (even though it isn’t “your job”). Giving a shout out to a co-worker for a job well done can make someone’s day, as can leaving a kind note on a colleague’s desk.
Kindness can be as simple as acknowledging someone else. A cheery “good morning”, a passing compliment, or a “thank you” as recognition for a colleague’s support are all little acts of kindness that add up to a workplace full of happier people.
While you may feel the urge to pour yourself a hot cup of coffee when that late afternoon slump creeps in, you should actually be reaching for good old H2O.
Dehydration has been found to negatively affect mood, and even mild dehydration can bring on that “low” feeling. Other signs of mild dehydration can include thirst, having a dry mouth, a headache or feeling light-headed.
Being well hydrated is great for your energy and immune system too, and there’s no doubt that good health is linked with good mood.
Express your creativity through a reusable water bottle with a cute design, or contribute to a great social enterprise with Thankyou branded water.
5. Get your groove on
There is no question that music is a great motivator. Have you ever tried going to the gym without music? It’s just not the same. Listening to music you love while you work helps to dull the background noise and makes work a little more fun.
You know those songs you love that give you chills? Scientists have found that listening to your favourite music actually releases the pleasure chemical, dopamine. So, creating a ‘feel good at work’ playlist is a simple step towards a happier work day.
Grooving along to your favourite songs might increase your productivity – just make sure it isn’t at the expense of your colleagues’ productivity. Playing your music through headphones at a low volume means you can enjoy your music without disrupting others.
Some workplaces have introduced a communal radio, which keeps staff quietly toe-tapping while they work more productively, and with a smile.