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Wellness

13 ways to feel happier at work

Abigail Shiers
Abigail Shiers

National Work Life Week is Working Families’ annual campaign to get both employers and employees talking about wellbeing at work and work life balance. National Work Life Week runs from 7 – 11 October 2019.

Public sector membership club Boundless has revealed statistics for National Work Life Week (October 7-11) which suggest money is not the only key to a happier work life.

The research, which polled over 2,000 UK workers in both the public and private sector, asked employees what would make them happier in their job.

A higher salary came out top at 67 per cent but other answers suggested a work-life balance and greater appreciation for the job they do are vitally important to happiness in the workplace.

Almost a quarter (23%) said more sociable hours would make them happier in their job.

Almost three in ten (29%) said working fewer hours would make them happier.

More than half (52%) said being thanked, either by their boss or the public, would increase job satisfaction.

Although it may be difficult to cut back on hours or get an instant pay rise, luckily making your work environment a happier place to be doesn’t need to be that hard.

Ultimately, our mental health is just as important as the documents we draft and the spreadsheets we email out. So, how do we effectively walk the line between being professionally productive and personally happy?

With World Mental Health Day on the 10th October, here are 13 ways to be happier at work:

Give Yourself a Reward

If you don’t love the things on the to-do list in front of you, try incentivising yourself. Why not celebrate an achievement, big or small, by creating a treat jar as means of motivation? The treat jar is the perfect way to celebrate an accomplishment without breaking the bank. Set yourself a challenge, for instance, finishing a report you’ve been working on and then, close your eyes and reach into the jar and pull out your reward. Simple.

Take 5

Take 10-15 minutes for yourself — whether it’s meditation, taking a walk, stretching or listening to music. Allowing yourself more “you” time can help you feel more grounded and excited about work, as well as less stressed.

Buy Yourself Some Flowers or a desk plant

Researchers have been promoting the mental health benefits of horticulture for decades, and for good reason. Studies have repeatedly shown that the act of tending to plants can take our minds off the bad stuff, relieve stress, and have an overall calming effect.

Being surrounded by nature boosts our mood and eases stress. Here are 9 plants that can improve mental health and relieve stress.

Walk Around the Block

Sometimes all it takes to boost your mood at work is a quick walk around the block. Walking is not only great for you physically, but it also lifts your mood. Grab that co-worker you’ve been meaning to talk to and have an active outdoor meeting. Check out the benefits of walking here.

Eat Foods that Boost Your Mood

You know that if you eat a sweet snack, such as a candy bar or a sugary donut, you’ll get a spike of energy, soon followed by a crashing low. Sugar highs and lows are just one of the many ways food can affect how you feel.

But have you ever considered that eating habits and specific foods might help you to feel happier and more energised?

Adding protein to your meals can help slow the absorption of carbohydrates in your blood and increase the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which may improve your mood and energy for several hours after eating.

There are also a few specific vitamins that may be helpful for mood. For example, vitamin D may help relieve mood disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder.

Or take some inspiration from our blog on healthy eating habits here.

Drink Water

Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you grumpy and confused. So in order to think clearer and be happier, try drinking more water while you’re at work. Proper hydration will allow you to perform better, feel happier and enable you to reach your goals.

Check out our blog where we give 6 tips for drinking more water every day.

Smile and Laugh Daily

Start smiling more. Research has shown that facial expressions have more impact on our feelings than we think and has the power to make us feel happier.
Science has shown that the mere act of smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life!

Get yourself a new mug

This might seem like a simple and straightforward suggestion but go get yourself a mug that makes you smile. Our favourites are The Happy News by Emily Coxhead, they just bring a smile to our face.

Set Aside 20 Minutes a Day for Personal Tasks

We all have our own personal tasks that need to be completed and sometimes, those pressing thoughts gnaw away at you, and anxiety soon follows. Whether you’re arranging your child’s school pickup schedule for the week or making that dinner reservation for your best friend’s birthday, setting aside personal time can help you feel more at ease and happier in the office.

Get Enough Sleep

It’s really is simple. Being well-rested allows you to focus and think better, meaning you spend less time zoned out and more time engaged. Grumpiness is less of an issue when you’ve had those solid eight hours of sleep.

Plan an Office Social

Building relationships with your co-workers will encourage a healthy environment for creativity to flourish. A great way to spend time together is to put something fun in the diary and have something for everyone to look forward to. This will definitely get the mood lifted and make your day-to-day office a happier place to be.

You don’t have to go far. Another idea is to set up a weekly happy hour, having designated “unwind” time which will help incentivise productivity and get everyone talking.

Bring Your Pet to Work

More and more frequently, employers and employees are discovering that pets at the workplace make them happier, lower stress levels, and create a comfortable, flexible environment. Pets can create camaraderie within the workplace and trigger interactions that may not have happened without them. Do you have a fur baby you want to bring to work?

Petting a dog has been proven to reduce stress, whether or not you own the dog. The process of patting and stroking a dog reduces the blood pressure, changes your physiological state into a more relaxed mode, and makes you feel better. So dogs in your office could help lessen the overall stress of the workplace environment.

Make the Most of the Weekend

When it gets to the end of the day on a Friday, don’t be tempted to take your work home with you. Pack up and leave the office behind you to give yourself the much-needed break in order to come back in on Monday feeling refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge.

For anyone who wants to join the National Work Life Week campaign tag @workingfamukin and follow the hashtag #worklifeweekon from 7-11 October 2019

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