Let’s face it, work isn’t always fun and games. Between stress, deadlines and occasional long hours, your job can start to feel more dreadful than enjoyable, and more meaningless than fulfilling. However, as working takes up so much of our lives – for Americans roughly 1,700 hours per year – feeling happy and less stressed at work is important. The negativity that you have at work can begin to affect other aspects of your life as well, making it vital to keep your spirits high at your 9 to 5.
Feelings of stress, dissatisfaction and general unhappiness that your job causes you can lead to physical and mental issues. As stress manifests itself in a variety of ways, you may begin to gain weight, feel overly fatigued or have trouble sleeping. Also, your happiness and extra hours of work can put a strain on your relationships, wreaking havoc on your social life. College students may be known for abusing prescription pills like Adderral and Xanax, but it’s men in their late-40s that are most likely to over do it on drugs and alcohol — largely as a coping mechanism for stress.
To avoid these negative side effects, resolving the root of these issues – your happiness at work – is key. If you’re out of ideas but are in need of a workweek pick-me-up, try these tips to help you get to your happy place at the office.
Update Your Workspace
A great way to make your work environment a little better is to give it a makeover. Whether you have a cubicle or a corner office, updating your space with pictures or things that reflect your personality can work wonders on your emotional state. Adding personal photos or mementos can add to your happiness at work, keeping your spirits high when overloaded with tasks.
Also, keeping a potted plant or flowers at your desk can help to reduce your stress and increase productivity, helping you to leave your work and all of its issues where you should leave it, at the office.
Above all, making sure that your desk is organized is key, as you will be able to work efficiently without the added stress and distraction that clutter can bring.
Get Some Fresh Air
After hours indoors, your office may start to feel a little stifling, especially if you love being outside. To make your workday a little happier, take a break and get outside. Whether you choose to eat your lunch in nearby park or simply take a walk around your office, you will benefit in more ways than one. Your afternoon stroll can give you a mental break from your work, reducing stress levels throughout the day, as well as helping your body get the vitamin D and fresh air it needs.
Get to Know Your Co-Workers
The truth is, having fun at work can boil down to your human interactions. While it’s likely that you have too much work to even think about chatting with an office-mate, making the time to do so can increase your satisfaction with your work life. Having conversations with the people that you work with – and not just to complain about your boss, workload or the lack of coffee in the kitchen – will undoubtedly enhance the sense of community that you feel at work as well as the level of support you feel in the office. Both will make workdays just a little more cheerful, especially when things in the office get rough.
Whatever your work goals may be, if you’ve accomplished them successfully, it’s important to treat yourself. Put it on your to-do list to give yourself a pat on the back, whether it’s going out to lunch at your favorite restaurant or splurging on new work clothes that you’ve had your eye on. You will undoubtedly add excitement and a little bit of joy to your day.
Change Your Mindset
It’s no secret that going to work can sometimes feel as unpleasant as going to detention, or the dentist or a Justin Bieber concert packed with throngs of screaming preteens. However, if you make it a point to change your attitude before you get to work, things might not seem quite as bleak.
On your way into work, or just before working on a daunting task, make a mental list of all of the positive aspects of your job, your office and your workday, providing you with a silver lining and things to look forward to.
If you find yourself dreading going to your job, or can’t remember the last time you were happy there, it’s time to make a change. While quitting your job may not be an option, finding ways to make your workweek happier certainly is. Whether you choose to take more mental breaks, get to know your co-workers a little better or simply keep a plant at your desk, you can improve your quality of life while at work.