We spend, on average, 90,000 hours of our life at work. With over 50% of the workforce reporting they feel stressed, unsatisfied, and burnt out in their day to day lives, it’s a very long time to spend unhappy.
Firstly, it is ok not to love your job. Everyone has days where they struggle to get through the daily grind. However, seeing as we spend so much of our life at work, it is important to do what we can to find some joy in our day.
The great news is you don’t need to change jobs, or retire early! There are plenty of ways to improve our day-to-day happiness in the workplace. Boosting our mood at work not only makes work more enjoyable, but it also improves our overall feelings of wellbeing, at home and at work. Improving our mood at work also boosts our productivity.
So instead of reaching for the biscuit jar next time you are in a slump at work, try one of these methods for a little pick me up instead.
Get outside – connecting to nature, even if it is just to breathe some fresh air, has an immediate impact on our mood. As a bonus, if the sun is out, getting that daily dose of vitamin D will help boost not only our mood, but the quality of our sleep too.
Tip: eat your lunch outside, walk a bit further to get your coffee, when you’re struggling to concentrate take a walk around the block, take meetings outside whenever possible.
Eat the Frog – a famous quote from Mark Twain “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning”. The frog is that thing we know we need to do but will find a million ways to procrastinate instead of doing it. Eating the frog means, get stuck in and do the task. Not only does it tick it off our to-do list and stop us procrastinating all day, but it comes with a great sense of accomplishment and a mood boosting lift.
Tip: eat the frog first and the rest of your day will feel easier already.
Connection – human beings are social creatures, we crave connection – even the most introverted of us. There is a reason why solitary confinement is used as a form of torture for prisoners of war. If we find a connection at work not only do we make a new friend, but it also boosts our mood and makes work feel, well less work-like! Even if we are working from home, we can still have a connection with a co-worker.
Tip: instead of sending an email to a colleague, walk to their desk or pick up the phone, ask how their weekend was first, you never know who might have similar interests to you.
Pack a healthy lunch and snacks – not only does this help save dollars, but having a diet rich in wholefoods and minimal refined sugars is good for our mood, brain health and reduces our risk of chronic disease. Packing a healthy lunch ensures we get a dose of healthy nutrients, and means we are less likely to make poor nutritional decisions or snack when the slump hits.
Tip: cook extra at dinner the evening before, eat lunch away from our desk – outside with a co-worker for added mood boosting points!
Give back – when we give, with service, time, money, or kindness, we have a release of oxytocin – known as the ‘love’ hormone. This induces feelings of warmth, and connection to others, which is a wonderful natural mood booster. In addition, this dose of oxytocin causes us to give more generously, and can create a cascade of generosity, where one person’s generous behaviour triggers another’s. Giving is contagious!
Tip: your workplace may support a cause, or have community days where you can give your time. If not, try suggesting a cause or activity for your team to get behind.
Gratitude – we often get so fixed on the destination; we forget to find the moments of happiness on the journey. We can forget just how much we have in our rich lives when we spend our time reliving the past or tripping into the future. Bringing attention to what we have, as opposed to focusing on what is missing, or what we want, enables us to be present and gives us a little boost of happiness.
Tip: at the beginning or end of each workday write down three things which brought us a moment of happiness. They don’t need to be big things. Think of the small moments, a good cup of coffee, a call or text from a friend, letting someone through in traffic.
What’s one thing you can do today, to boost your mood?