You spend a lot of hours at work; it’s just part of life. And that means you should also think about how to enjoy your job. If you feel happy at work you’re much more likely to thrive. These sixteen tips for how to be happy at work will help set you on a path for long-term success:
1. Pause to enjoy your day
Pause to enjoy your morning coffee. Really pause and take a few deep breaths. Making time for yourself first thing can really set the tone for the rest of your day. This can help you clear your head, refocus, and even provide inspiration and motivation for the next task on your to-do list.
2. Free yourself of nonessential tasks
As you sit down at your desk, before allowing the day’s to-do list to overwhelm you, consider which items may not need your input and remove them altogether. Recognize that your energy is limited.
3. Help your co-workers
Another way to attain a bit of happiness is by simply helping others. Offer kindness to a colleague, whether that’s grabbing them their favorite snack or teaching them a new skill. It’s proven to make us feel good too.
4. Learn new skills
Allow yourself to learn new skills. Being challenged and growing are critical to finding happiness at work and elsewhere. Find out if your company offers internal training and development programs; these types of opportunities are proven to increase job satisfaction levels which leads to more happiness.
5. Switch up your workspace
Personalizing your workspace is a good way to up the happiness meter at your current job. Let’s face it: office walls can be drab, and the lighting often leaves a lot to be desired. Bringing in some of your favorite art and a desk lamp and arranging your area for maximum comfort can help you enjoy being at work more.
6. Seek out meaningful work
When it comes to being happy at work, it all begins with finding a job that is meaningful to you. This doesn’t mean you have wake up every morning ready to change the world, but it does mean you’re more likely to be happy in the workplace if you’re personally invested in the process and outcomes of what you do.
7. Make office friends
A great way to feel invested in and happy about what you do is to create personal connections with your coworkers. Having a support system of friends in the workplace can enhance your overall happiness there. And who knows, you might form lasting friendships that extend outside of work, too.
8. Reward yourself frequently
Work can create stress—sometimes there’s just no getting around it. A positive way to manage it is to give yourself frequent rewards. A hot cup of tea, a quiet moment of reflection, or even a chat with a coworker are little rewards that can help increase your happiness and manage the load.
9. Build a playlist and listen to music
Music is a great motivator. Building and listening to playlists of your favorite songs at work can not only keep you happy, it can help motivate or calm you, depending on what you need at any given moment. Keep those playlists queued up and ready—just don’t forget your headphones!
10. Exercise and meditate
What you do outside of work can impact your happiness while you’re there. Regular exercise can not only keep you healthy, but can help to keep happy as well. Another happiness tip: find some moments of Zen. Whether you’ve been meditating for years, or are just learning to take a few deep, long breaths, finding time to be mindful and centered can help you bring a calm, positive feeling into your work environment.
11. Go for a walk
If you start to feel unhappy at your job, sometimes the best thing to do is to step outside for a moment. Head outside for a short walk and some fresh air, or take a longer stroll on your lunch break. Really can’t get out? Even a quick lap around the office can increase your happiness—and maybe you’ll even bump into that office buddy who always makes you smile.
12. Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water
Good dietary habits can help you feel good. Staying hydrated is a simple thing everyone can do to stay healthy, alert, and happy. You can snack smarter, too: foods that are high in antioxidants, like some berries, nuts, leafy greens, and yes, dark chocolate, have been shown to support brain health.
Believe it or not, a simple smile can actually brighten your mood. A number of studies have shown that the physical act of smiling can impact the brain to cause happy feelings. You don’t have go full “fake it ‘til you make it,” but next time you feel your job weighing you down, try it. Bonus points if your boss sees you and smiles back.
14. Put personal issues aside
No matter how dedicated you are to your career, personal issues can sometimes threaten your happiness at work. Part of establishing work-life balance is being able to leave your personal issues at home. By establishing and maintaining boundaries, you can stay that much happier with the work side of your life.
15. Plan vacations
Speaking of work-life balance, a great way to maintain it is to plan regular vacations. If your employer provides paid vacation, you should use it to your advantage. Studies have shown that people who plan vacations with their time off report feeling happier—including in their job.
16. Enjoy your weekends
Unplugging on the weekend doesn’t make you a bad employee—in fact, it can make you a more productive one. Use that time however you like: on a hobby, with family and friends, or even just sleeping in. You’ll be recharged and happier than ever when you wake up Monday morning.