When the work days are long and the weeks blur together, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed yet extremely difficult to find ways to relax. The truth is, in addition to your busy schedule and on-the-job challenges, the state of your workspace could also be partly to blame for your stress.
We rarely dedicate enough time to making the space we spend the most hours in each day feel like somewhere we even want to be, let alone a haven. And while we’re not used to associating the words “cubicle” and “zen” with one another, there are many simple ways that you can bring peace to your workspace.
Here are seven tips for a peaceful workspace, and how you can make the make the most of your cubicle, desk or home office.
CREATING A WELCOMING CUBICLE
It’s not easy to make a tiny cubicle feel like home, but there are easy ways you can change up your space in order to create a more comforting environment.
1. Enlist indoor plants to purify the air.
If you work in an office space, you likely feel as though you’re constantly breathing in stale air. The bad news? You probably are. Reduced ventilation can lower air quality, which may lead to eye, ear, nose and throat problems. But indoor plants can filter out contaminants in the air, helping to purify your space. The color green is often associated with balance and harmony, which can help you to brighten up your surroundings with calming energy. When searching for plants to bring to the office, consider how much light your cubicle gets. Plants like succulents, snake plants and lucky bamboo are all quite resilient and don’t need abundant sunshine to thrive.
2. Create a clean, organized space to bring mental clarity.
Most cubicles aren’t more than 8’ x 8’, and if you work in an open office environment, you may have even less space to call your own. With limited room to work with, it’s especially important for you to remove unnecessary clutter and keep your personal and professional items in order.
- Go through your paper records every now and again to recycle documents you no longer need.
- Get rid of leftover lunch scraps and any empty bottles or jars left at your desk. You’d be surprised how quickly those pile up–and what a difference it makes when they’re gone!
- If you have overhead shelving, use it to store away items you don’t always need at your fingertips.
- Organize the items in your space based on how you use them each day and use file folders, binders or desk trays to keep them properly classified.
- Make friends with the label maker! Clearly mark your belongings to create a sense of ownership and help you more easily recognize anything you’ve misplaced along the way!
3. Keep a stock of healthy snacks to stay nourished.
Working in an office, you might often feel the draw of communal chips or leftover birthday cake, but having healthy, nourishing options on hand can help you avoid the sugar crash that comes with an unplanned 2 p.m. snacking session.
Keep a small weekly stash of healthful options to keep your body fueled and your mind alert between meals and to spare you unnecessary trips to the kitchen.
Here are some snacks to pack into your space:
- Fresh fruits that travel easily like bananas, apples and oranges
- A refillable bottle of water to always keep hydrated
- Protein-rich nuts like walnuts, almonds and pistachios
- A bag of homemade granola
4. Bring in lighting that supports well-being and feels like home.
Dynamic lighting–that is, lighting that mimics the natural cycle of day and night– has been shown to have positive benefits on well-being and performance. Even if you don’t have access to these types of lighting options throughout your office, a lamp with a dimmer can help ensure you can make adjustments to the lighting of your space throughout the day. The key is to strike a balance so that you have enough light that you don’t need to strain your eyes, but enough warmth in those lights so that your space feels more like home.
DECORATE YOUR DESK
Whether you have a large office, a small cubicle or work in an open space, your desk is the one area that is truly your own–and is, aside from your computer, probably what you stare at for most of your day. Decorate your desk space in a way that you always have access to thoughtful mementos, comforting fragrances and relaxing sounds.
5. Bring home to work with keepsakes that represent your favorite people and memories.
A way to bring personality to your work space, and a smile to your face, is by bringing a few meaningful items from home to your cubicle.
- Photos of your loved ones can bring you back to special moments in your life spent with the people you care for the most.
- Motivational magnets or paperweights can make a space feel more inviting and empowering.
- State scented candles can bring you back to your hometown or a favorite place you’ve been, reminding you of the happy memories of where you came from and the experiences that shaped your life.
- Bring in that sentimental sweater from grandma or that throw blanket your aunt crocheted just for you. Nothing feels better than wrapping yourself in the arms of someone you love, but wearing something they made for you comes pretty close.
Bringing some comforts of home can help create a more calming environment at your desk. They serve as constant reminders of why you’re spending your day at work in the first place.
6. Use sounds and scents to create an atmosphere of comfort.
Think of what it’s like to watch a movie with an amazing soundtrack. You get completely lost in the moment, an innocent bystander as your heartstrings tug along with every chord. Music is a very powerful tool that has been shown to evoke certain moods. This helps explain why we feel an overwhelming desire to listen to sad songs when we’re feeling upset and why we want to turn on loud, bumping music when we exercise.
- Create a work playlist for your space–one that helps you feel relaxed, focused and ready to take on the day.
- Use your playlist as the soundtrack to your work day.
Fragrances are strongly tied to memories and the right blend can help you find your balance and peace. You can use essential oils for stress relief and to help you set your mood throughout the day.
7. When work is home, create designated areas to separate the two.
When you work from home, your two worlds can meld together quite easily. Even if you don’t have a true office with a desk and a door that you can shut once you’re off the clock, keeping your work space neat and tidy at the end of each work day can help you to separate your work life and home life.
FEEL PEACE AND COMFORT
Even those of us who are lucky enough to have a job we’re passionate about probably wouldn’t choose to spend as much time at the office as we do. The trick for creating a peaceful workspace lies in building a tidy, cozy environment that manages to feel a bit like home.
This article contributed by guest blogger, Taylor Sicard
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