Work, whatever you do, can at times be stressful. We all worry about things from time to time. How well we’re doing, whether we’re impressing the right people, whether we’re where we think we ought to be at this stage, trying to please an unpleasable boss, the list goes on; but one thing’s for sure, we really could be a lot kinder on ourselves. Good overall health consists of both mental and physical parts, which are of equal importance in finding our happiness. We’re all individuals, and this means something different to us all. Although if we’re happy at work, it’s likely we’ll experience a general feeling of happiness in our everyday lives. Here are six things you can get started on right away to ‘find your happy’ at work.
1. Take time out
This is my number one, non-negotiable, which I made a personal mission of living by in my previous life in the corporate world. Easier said than done when you’re busy but it really is so important for your mental and physical health to get away from your desk for an extended period each day. Even if this means just 10 minutes, then make it a priority to make good use of this time. Go for a stroll, listen to some music or simply find a spot and just sit quietly. You may feel pressure to ‘stay at your desk’ to appear extra hardworking, but in fact a break will boost productivity and reduce stress levels if used wisely. If your boss doesn’t recognise this, then always try to remember that your health should be number one over work, every time.
2. Stretch and breathe
As a yoga teacher passionate about the mental and physical power of yoga, I can’t stress enough how beneficial a good stretch and moment or two (if that’s all you can spare) focusing on your breathing can be. The next time you feel anxiety or that sickening feeling of overwhelm, take yourself away from public view for just five minutes to close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You might get a few odd looks if you break out into downward dog in the middle of the office, but a few simple stretches either at your desk or even in a spare meeting room will work wonders for productivity and feelings of happiness.
3. Snack well
Sounds vague, doesn’t it? ‘Eating well’ is so subjective in this media saturated world, but there are certain things you can do, even if you are glued to your desk all day to avoid ramming yourself full of the bad stuff. If you get hungry in between meals, then have ‘healthy’ snacks on hand or in your drawer to avoid hitting the vending machine come 4pm. Often when we reach for a snack, it’s emotionally fuelled rather than due to actual feelings of hunger. Stop, take a deep breath and ask yourself whether you’re eating as a result of that stroppy email you just received, or whether it’s a genuine feeling of hunger. Being more mindful in our working day can help us recognise feelings that we so often cover up. I like to remember Victor Frankl's quote: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
4. Go green
Try and have at least two portions of leafy greens on your plate at lunchtime during the working day. Leafy green vegetables are a brilliant source of folate, which contributes to the production of serotonin, which can help improve mood and feelings of happiness.
5. Keep it balanced
Try to keep your plate balanced at lunchtime. Aim to have a source of unrefined, slow-releasing carbohydrates (think unprocessed), protein and ‘good’ fat with each meal to keep your blood-sugar levels balanced. This will help reduce sweet cravings, and keep you feeling fuller for much longer.
6. Stay hydrated
I can’t stress enough how important it is that we stay properly hydrated. Our bodies are made up of up to 75% water, so it only makes sense that if we aren’t getting enough, we’re not going to function optimally – both physically and mentally. Dehydration can make it difficult to concentrate and cause feelings of fatigue, so it’s super important to stay hydrated in the office. Keep a pint glass at your desk, and refill it when it gets low. Aim to avoid refilling plastic bottles.
Tori is a Wellness Coach and Yoga Teacher, and founder of ‘The Greatest You’. Working with corporates and individuals, Tori and The Greatest You aim to help individuals uncover the very greatest version of themselves.