We all need to work to make a living and for most of us, our jobs take up at least 40 hours of our week. However, not many of us have the privilege of saying that our work makes us happy, no thanks in part to unending, stressful deadlines, demanding bosses and difficult colleagues.
Even if you do love your job and the people you work with, long hours at the office and other pressures can eventually take their toll on your mood. Also, as the mental and physical effects of your job extend beyond the office, it’s important to find ways to be happy at work so you can be happy at all other times too.
Here are our top tips for looking after your mental well being and finding happiness in the workplace.
To be focused and productive at work, keep your personal and professional lives separate. Once you leave the office, leave all the stress and worry of work behind to enjoy your down time. Similarly, when you’re at work, let go of the problems you have at home and concentrate on your job. Temporarily taking your mind off personal problems may even help you put things in better perspective later.
You spend up to eight hours or more at your workstation, so it’s important for you to feel comfortable there. One way to make your space your own is to keep it clean and organised. Secondly, take some time to decorate it (as much as your company’s policy will allow). Whether you have a desk, cubicle or room, giving it a personal touch can help you feel more relaxed at work.
When your nose is constantly put to the proverbial grindstone, it’s easy to forget to eat healthily and drink enough water. However, there’s no denying that a good diet and adequate water consumption are key to improving your focus, energy levels and mood. The next time you go grocery shopping, load up on healthy foods and snacks, and get yourself a big water bottle to drink from and refill throughout the workday.
Besides keeping your workstation tidy, stay on top of things and eliminate stress by maintaining an organised mind too. Create and stick to a schedule, make to-do lists and do regular follow-ups. Being proactive will help you feel confident, keep you from feeling overwhelmed, motivate you and enhance your job satisfaction.
If you have a sedentary desk job, don’t forget the importance of getting up and moving about a little several times during the workday. Go for a short walk, stretch your arms and flex those legs to improve circulation and ease tired, tense muscles.
There’s no denying that in every job, there will always be things you like and things you dislike. To create a mindset that fosters happiness, train your brain to focus on the good. Be it pleasant colleagues, a good cafeteria or a nice boss, focus on the positives to make your job more enjoyable.
Whenever you feel stressed out or overwhelmed at work, take some time to breathe deeply. Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nostrils, inflating your stomach and chest to their fullest capacity. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this for a few seconds to regain calm.
A group of colleagues that you can get along with is like an excellent support system. Whether you have similar backgrounds or interests, having colleagues you can talk to and work well with will help to minimise stress.
There will always be colleagues who will drive you up the wall but don’t waste your time trying to change them. The only thing you can do is to change the way you react and respond to them, which in turn can help you avoid awkward situations and even resolve conflicts.
If you’re stuck in a perpetual cycle of unhappiness at work, ask yourself what you can do to change things for the better. Play an active role in regaining your own happiness by identifying what doesn’t work for you and creating a plan to change it.
If you’re unhappy at work, own up to it. Stop blaming others for your unhappiness and realise that only you can make you unhappy. Help yourself realise your true potential, and find contentment in what you do and how you do it.
Have you done a particularly good job on a project? It doesn’t matter if no one pats you on the back or commends you. Treat yourself to a well-deserved reward. Have dinner with a loved one, watch a movie with friends or spend a few hours at a spa. Show yourself that there are things you can do outside work to make you happy.
You may think you know the meaning of happiness, but perhaps that definition needs a little tweaking. Most people think of happiness as a destination, one we must arrive at and hopefully stay in for as long as possible. But could it be that happiness is already here waiting for you to recognise it? Don’t wait to be happy. Choose to be happy in the here and now.
Make Yourself at Home by creating a more pleasant workspace
You can feel instantly better about being at work by creating a comfortable, familiar atmosphere at your workstation. Here’s a few things you can do:
- Bring the outdoors in – place a plant or a vase of fresh flowers at your desk.
- Decorate and personalise your desk with with colourful, stylish office accessories.
- Put up photos of your friends, family or pets.
- Keep a few of your favourite souvenirs from memorable holidays around you.
- Have a cardigan or sweater on hand for when the air conditioning gets too chilly.
- Put a cushion on your chair to support your back.
- Invest in a good mouse pad and wrist rest.