We hear about it all the time; it could be you or it could be a colleague, but someone that you know, somewhere right this second, is currently complaining about their line of work. What we are asking ourselves in this blog, is how much of this unhappiness is self-imposed, and what can we possibly do to help ourselves learn to love life (including work) a little more?
Happiness is a State of Mind
Happiness comes easier to some people than it does to others – it’s a simple fact. It’s a bit like losing weight; not everyone finds achieving the perfect figure a breeze, and for some of us, trying to feel happy and upbeat can leave us feeling more tired than a full workout.
Just like reading blogs about work-out tips and tricks to take to the gym, you can’t simply read advice about how to improve your level of happiness and expect to see the benefits without putting the work in. This blog will provide you with a happiness training regime for your mind, however, it’s up to you to act on it and find what works.
How to Wake-up Happy
We all have those days where we ‘get out of the wrong side of the bed’ – when the bed is just too warm, it’s cold outside, and you know you have a difficult day ahead of you how can you reduce the chance that you might start your day off on the wrong foot?
Get More Sleep
The first question to ask yourself is how you have been sleeping? Good sleep is crucial to having a positive attitude, so you should begin your path to happiness by working out how many hours of sleep you get and how it makes you feel in the morning. Everybody functions differently on different levels of sleep, so don’t let anyone else tell you what the norm is, because it is something best figured out for yourself.
On average, women need more sleep than men, and younger people need more sleep than older people. Your personal requirement for optimal function will also be affected by the amount of physical and mental stresses of your week. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
In today’s society, it can be difficult to recognise sleep as productive, but it is important to challenge this misconception. Achieving the right amount of sleep for you will improve your productivity, confidence and general health – what could be more productive than that?
Assess Your Sleep
Sleep isn’t merely a matter of hours spent in bed, unfortunately. The quality of your sleep is important too. If you wake up in the middle of the night, then your quality of sleep is arguably less than that of someone who successfully sleeps the whole night. If this is you, then try to establish a better bedtime routine. Winding down physically and mentally, and switching off electronics the hour before you plan to turn in, also avoiding caffeine in the evenings are helpful moves.
Warm baths before bed, good ventilation in the bedroom and also having houseplants like English Ivy or a Peace Lily for their air-purifying abilities can help some people.
Get Up Earlier
Getting up earlier can also work wonders to make you feel more positive and set the tone for the rest of your day, putting you in control of your morning. Perhaps your usual morning starts off in a bit of a rush to get out of bed, get dressed, finding last minute items that you need for your day, taking children to school, skip breakfast, grab coat, lock door and rush to work. It sounds a bit stressful, doesn’t it?
Getting up even half an hour earlier will allow you to get out of bed in a more relaxed manner. You will be less likely to forget important things while you are getting prepared for the day ahead. Most importantly you will have time to enjoy your breakfast, rather than just trying to eat it as quickly as possible or worse still, skip it. Breakfasting on healthy things like whole grains and fruit and including some protein, eggs for example or a protein smoothie, will set you up for the day and help to support a positive mindset. A quick carb and sugar breakfast of cereal or white toast and jam sends your blood sugar on a roller coaster of a quick high and then crash and burn
Just by finding the right amount of sleep to get and re-setting your morning routine, you can improve your mood and well-being at the start of your day. The next challenge is how you take that state of mind to work and keep it there.
Getting to Work Happy
Getting to work happy can be a challenge, especially when the traffic is bad. One way to offset this is by driving with the window open. Recent studies have found that stuffy environments with high CO2 levels can make people feel tired, which we want to avoid. By walking, cycling, or driving with the window open, you are increasing your exposure to fresh air in the morning, which is more healthy for your body and mind. You can read more about the importance of good air in our blog:Indoor Air Quality: Facts & How To Improve.
If you can walk or cycle to work this is great news because regular exercise is excellent for your body and mind too. Exercise brings transformative change to your brain, promotes a feeling of well-being and calm and releases endorphins – chemicals which make you feel really good and lifts your spirits.
If you are in the car, singing or listening to music is also recommended. A 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to upbeat music could improve their mood and boost their happiness significantly in a matter of just two weeks.
How to Stay Happy at Work
Arriving at work presents the most challenging barrier between you and your happiness, because there will be factors that you can’t always prepare for, like a sudden crisis requiring you to work overtime or a difficult situation with something that saps your energy and patience. Finding happiness at work can be a test of resilience, but there is plenty you can do to improve it.
Keep Your Energy Up
At work, you will appreciate those extra hours of sleep and your pleasant morning routine all the more, because you will have more energy to deal with problems once they arise. This means that instead of buckling under pressure, you will be more likely to be productive and successful in the morning.
Many people find happiness from being productive and successful, so utilising tips to make the most of your day can help you to achieve more. Getting yourself organised can help a lot, but so can regulated and healthy snack breaks to rest your mind.
As well as perfecting your daily habits to promote productivity, you should also consider the environment that you work in, and maybe even consider changing seats in your office. Sitting next to people who can motivate you and with whom you can get along is another crucial factor to enjoying your day at work. You need to be with people who can pick you up when things go wrong or in the afternoon when your energy is lagging a little.
For some people, an untidy desk can be distracting; Junk food wrappers, stationary and random bits of tat can distract workers. This doesn’t mean that empty desks are the answer, however; improving your happiness by adding some beautiful office plants will bring many benefits to your workplace.
Office plants provide not only aesthetic improvements that are known to boost creativity in offices. The ‘Biophilia Hypothesis’ is the much-studied theory that human beings have an innate connection with nature, and that our connection to plants, flowers and other natural features in our environment contributes to our health and wellbeing. Having a view of plants in the workplace makes people more relaxed, less stressed, up to 15% more productive, and more creative than being in a workplace devoid of them.
Plants can also reduce levels of CO2, which, as previously mentioned, can have a negative impact on workers’ energy, productivity and health. A green office is a healthy office, and a healthy office is a happy office. We recommend the peace lily, snake plant or areca palm to craft the ultimate office atmosphere. You can read more about The Top 5 Plants for Your Office on our blog, or contact us for a free quote if you are interested in getting a bespoke design service for your office with us.
Add more fresh air to your day by going outside for a walk in nature, by taking a lunch break, breathing deeply and getting more exercise. You might be tempted to work through lunch, eating a sandwich at your desk, but you’ll be more productive and energised by taking a break and getting active.
Finding happiness is all about how you treat yourself and finding the willpower to keep good habits going. It might not be easy for you to put all of these methods into practice – we understand how hard it can be to put your phone down and go to sleep – but a bit of sleep, a better diet, some more exercise and a few plants can make a world of difference.