Have you ever noticed how your environment affects your mood? As we spend so much time at work it makes sense that we make it as healthy and pleasant as possible. There are many tips on how to create a positive workspace, I have listed a few of my favorites here. These tips relate mainly to desk jobs but some can be transferred to other work.
Clear your space and clear your mind – disorganized spaces make us feel tense, so spend two minutes tidying up your desk before you leave for the day. Before you do just jot down your “to-do list” for the next day.
Mother nature – always reduces stress and anxiety so bring some of it indoors with you. One US study found that people who worked on computer tasks in a room with plants had lower blood pressure than those who worked in a room without greenery. I like to pick some flowers on my walk to work and put them on my desk (the quick jog I have as I am avoiding confrontation with said flower owners is also invigorating).
Aromatherapy – scents can be used to stimulate the senses, choose calming or invigorating blends depending on what your needs are. If it’s not appropriate to have a diffuser in your office just keep some of your favorite smelling hand creams in your top drawer and this will provide you with the lift you need through the day as well as keeping your hands soft.
Tea – sipping on herbal tea throughout the day is a great way to soothe your soul. My personal favorite is peppermint, I also like fresh lemon balm leaves in boiling water.
Objects you love– I have several objects that I use as triggers to remind myself to breathe and stay focussed on the present moment. I have a small wall hanging with some encouraging words of wisdom and a small meditating woman holding a candle. Both of these objects make me smile and help me to keep things in perspective.
Affirmations – In the top right-hand corner of my computer I have a post-it note that says “IT WILL HAPPEN” which is my mantra for 2012, and underneath I have “Faith” which is the emotional quality I want to develop that will support the manifestation of my mantra.
Stretching – I have a timer on my desk that I set at half an hour intervals to remind myself to get up and stretch. Without this, I would end every day looking like the “hunchback from Notre dame”. I also do face stretches throughout the day, now I know this sounds weird and I do work in an office on my own, but I can recommend screwing up your face several times a day. It helps you to relax your jaw and forehead and reduce tension headaches.
Go outside – It’s so easy to sit at your desk all day, checking emails and Facebook whilst eating lunch at your desk is all too common. I make myself go outside for at least 15 minutes every day, even if it’s raining. I always feel a hundred percent better when I return and I have a clearer head. It’s good to do between 2 and 3 pm when you get the afternoon slump instead of heading for the chocolate (chocolate is good too though).
Skive off early – This is a term I learned in Scotland, the definition I found says “Verb. To evade doing one’s work or duties, to truant. e.g. “Every Friday afternoon you can guarantee he’ll be skiving and getting drunk down the pub.” You can do what you want when you skive off work, but whatever it is just make the most of it, we work far too hard most of the time.
This is just a list of things I have developed to help me enjoy my work environment and support me to do the best work I can. I would be interested to hear other tips people have for creating a happy, healthy work environment.
And, I don’t want to hear about any of you doing this!