As much as 73 percent of workers are unhappy at work and wish they could find a new position. But finding a new job isn’t easy. What can you do at work when you’re unhappy? Learn to make it feel more fun.
Sensory Stress Relief With a Focus on Fun
Learning to leverage your senses to develop in-the-moment stress-relief techniques can help you feel better at work. It takes some practice, but with consistent effort, anyone can develop an ability to feel happier. Here are some of my favorite ways to make work fun:
1) Sight = Get Giffy With It. I must give my Millennial co-workers (the average age in my office is 25) credit for introducing this one to me. It started a couple of years ago with a simple email. I sent out a client success story. My team sent back responses, but instead of text, started attaching gifs. It quickly became a standard mode of happy communication in our office. At least once each day, someone sends out a comment about work with a gif attached. We immediately all jump in. It’s instant laughter at your desk. Each new email comment is like a little joke gift in your inbox.
2 ) Touch = Self-Applied Acupressure. A quick internet search will show you lots of different pressure points on the body and acupressure techniques that can help you reduce stress. I focus on my wrists, neck, and ears. While applying the acupressure, I take a moment to inventory all the things that make my job good. Clearing out the NST (negative self-talk) and replacing it with positive thoughts makes me instantly grateful.
3) Sound = Daydreaming Set to Music. I’m big on visualization. I spend at least 30 minutes every day meditating on my goals. I get very specific on how I’ll achieve them and imagine what the moment of success will feel like. I’ve gotten so good at it, I can make myself feel the emotion of the moment. I take this a step further by setting it to music. I pick songs that match the goal and then play them while running my ‘journey to success’ story through my head. Then, when I need a boost, I play a song, put on some headphones, and give myself a few minutes to daydream with intention. It’s my favorite way to get psyched--it works every time.
4) Scent = Grapefruit and Popcorn. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh popcorn to make me feel happy. Lots of us snack on it in my office. The smell makes me happy. Same with the grapefruit candle on my desk. I don’t need to light it; I just take a big sniff of it and I’m immediately happy. Grapefruit has always been my favorite scent. I’m a sucker for anything that smells like citrus. Keeping the scent close by at work is a must-do.
5) Taste = Clif Bars, Tamari Almonds, and Seltzer. I’m a bit of a fitness junkie, so I’m always trying to eat well at work. This puts me on the perpetual search for healthy foods that please my taste buds. I have been addicted to Mint Clif Builder Bars for a while. For me, it’s like having a Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie without the guilt. Same goes for tamari almonds. Something about their salty, smoky taste and extra-crunchy texture really works for me. I tend to wash both down with flavored seltzer (ruby-red grapefruit, of course), which makes me feel like I’m having some kind of beverage treat. Taking time to enjoy my food and snacks at work as opposed to choking down my food and getting back to business makes me happy.
6) Movement = Job Jams and Brainstorming Walks. There are no shortage of studies showing we need to move more at work. I’m lucky. Part of my job actually requires me to dance. When one of our clients gets a new job, we do a “job jam” in the client's honor. It involves getting on a livestreaming camera and dancing to the client's favorite song so it can see us celebrating its success. I like to pull out all the classic moves, i.e., the cabbage patch, the shopping cart, mow the lawn, etc. This is a guaranteed way to laugh at work. On the days when there are no job jams, I’ll grab a co-worker and go on a brainstorming walk. We get out of the office to discuss a challenge or problem we’ve been working on. It’s a great opportunity to bond with a co-worker. Plus, we always come back energized with new ideas to try.
Developing your own sensory stress-relief activities will make a difference in how happy you feel at work.
It’s even easier to make them habits if you can get some co-workers to do this with you. The more people in the office focused on taking ownership of their own happiness and fun at work, the better. It’s not your employer’s job! It’s up to you to make yourself happy. Plus, getting your teammates on board can help you build stronger relationships with them, which is a proven way to feel better at work, too.
Now, What’s Your Best #WorkMoreFun Activity?
I’d love to hear from readers how they have more fun at work. Using the hashtag #WorkMoreFun, share with me on Twitter (@jtodonnell) or Instagram (@FitSayWhat). You can also post in the comments below.