With our world continuing to change around us and the need to settle into new routines, new work-from-home (WFH) spaces and new ways to keep ourselves sane, managing a healthy work-life balance may be a little tougher than usual. So, how can you continue the carpe diem attitude and positive vibes even after your work week begins? Keep reading for six tips to put a little more "fun" in your "functional" space.
While it's easy to focus on bettering yourself outside of working hours or while you're doing something you love, your time spent in your home office can sometimes be a different story. Hectic family schedules, the pressure of deadlines, collaborating with colleagues via virtual platforms, and even the act of striving for success can affect everything from your mood to your inner mantra.
There are many things that are out of your control, but making small changes to your WFH environment can create noticeable changes in the way you feel, helping to increase both positivity and productivity. Try incorporating a few of these simple tips below, and turn your home office space into your happy place.
1. Clean House
Studies show that a messy desk space can not only hamper productivity, but can lower your mood and make problems seem more overwhelming. Spend the extra few minutes it takes to clean your space at the end of each day, so you can start fresh the next morning with a clear mindset.
2. Picture This
Does a photo of your family bring a smile to your face? Are you transported to your favorite vacation spot every time you see a certain mountaintop? Do you have a special place by the water or in a park that is full of good memories? Carefully selected visuals can serve as emotional cues, helping evoke memories and feelings of comfort that can lighten your perspective during stressful times. Pick an image of something that is deeply important to you and keep a photo of it in your immediate space so you always have place you can “go to” when you need a quick mental break.
3. Break for Breath
While social coffee breaks or “taking 10” with a colleague IRL aren't possible right now, you can take a pause to make a quick call to a loved one or FaceTime a friend when you're feeling stressed during your day. Even further, meditation is shown to have a much deeper impact long term. Taking even just 10 minutes to meditate can help reset your outlook, clarify your thoughts, and dissipate negativity. If you don't want to meditate, you can also practice some conscious breathwork, such as doing a series of deep inhales, followed by long, slow exhales. Did you know up to 70 percent of your body's detoxification happens through breath?
4. Snack Smart
Eating unhealthy foods (or forgetting to eat altogether) can hamper mental productivity and dull your mood. Keep a stash of healthy, brain-boosting snacks on hand to help you stave off the threat of hanger and ensure that when you do break for a meal, your food choices are smart ones. Superfoods like goji berries, cacao, and chia are three examples of foods that have been scientifically shown to enhance mood and cognition.
5. Bring in Some Life
Even home office environments can become sterile places when they're filled with electronics and equipment. To counterbalance this ho-hum energy, keep something on your desk that represents nature: a small plant, fresh flowers, seashells, etc. You can also incorporate a couple elemental items that soothe you, such as a candle or other aromatherapy tool, an inspirational quote, etc. You'll find your energy is much more grounded by carving out your own little area of zen.
6. Be the Positive Change
Most of all, the best thing you can do to enhance your home workspace is to be positive yourself. Vocally appreciate your co-workers in your next Zoom meeting. Give a compliment to someone you didn't interact with much when you all worked together back in the office. Let your fur babies hang with you while you work. Share some recent wins with a colleague. Not only will you help brighten someone else's day, but the next time you need a little mood boost, they may just return the favor.