Let’s face it, being at the office when you’d rather be at the beach sucks, no matter how much you love your job. That’s especially true if your job is a particularly stressful one. Fear not: Your workspace and your office can actually be a pretty inviting place. Okay, maybe not inviting, but it sure can be a little more pleasant. Here are a few ideas on how to make your desk less miserable, especially on long, hard days.
1. Get a plant. Not only will a little greenery make you happier, but studies show it can actually improve the air quality in your surroundings—you know, that whole respiration business. Need a low-maintenance one? Get a cactus. Really scared of commitment (or allergies)? Even fake plants can boost morale, if not oxygen levels.
2. Give yourself a small dose of aromatherapy each day. Lemon and peppermint scents can improve your memory, and lavender can relax you. However, unless you have a private office with your own door, you may not want to use any air fresheners and you probably can’t use candles. What to do? Get antibacterial wipes in those scents to clean your desk once a day, and grab antibacterial hand sanitizers in those scents to stash at your desk for when you sneeze.
3. Use pastels. Studies show that pastel shades can make you feel calmer. That will come in handy on those days when your boss chews you out during a meeting, idiots keep calling your work line, and when Sue in accounting forgets deodorant again.
4. Go from dark to light. Studies also show that using a gradient that goes from dark to light can improve your mood. Have a black book? Put it to the left. Have a white notepad? Put it to the right.
5. Get more flattering lighting. Sure, the fluorescent lights in your office are environmentally friendly and inexpensive to use, but they also make everyone look like garbage and can adversely affect your mood. If you can’t sit by a window, get a desk lamp with a natural-style light bulb. A bonus? A lamp like this one that doubles as a charging station, which will nix annoying tangled wires in your workspace.
6. Use a desktop shelf. Don’t have enough drawers? Give yourself more space—which results in less clutter and less stress.
7. Display photos that make you happy. Bring a framed photo of your pet, your bae, your pops, your BF, Norman Reedus—whatever and whoever will cheer you up on a rough day when you just want to go home. It’ll serve as a reminder that yes, there’s more to life than your spreadsheets.
8. DIY ergonomics help. My monitor at work was too low and it was actually making my neck hurt to shrivel myself down low enough for it to be at eye level. DIY solution? A pretty stack of books underneath. Bonus: Reading material for your ride home if you forget your current book club pick in the morning.