For the average employee working 40-hours per week, 30% of their life is spent at work. That means most employees spend more time with people at work than even their friends and family. It only makes sense then that the time we spend in the workplace should contribute to overall happiness.
Why it’s important to be happy at work
Spike in productivity – According to Recruiter, happy workers are 12% more productive than unhappy workers. When we’re feeling our best, we tend to want to do our best. We can take on challenges more readily.
Healthier outlook – Mental health is as important as physical health. Exercise and healthy diets can positively influence a work routine. But so too can meditation and similar mindfulness practices.
Less likely to burnout – Burnout syndrome is a serious problem plaguing almost every industry. But happy employees are less likely to experience burnout syndrome.
How to enjoy Mondays
Mondays are one of the biggest hurdles at work. A weekend of relaxation followed by the busiest day of the week can be jarring for just about anybody. Below are a few tips to overcome the Monday blues.
Go to bed early
One of the quickest and most effective ways to get ready for Monday is to prepare on Sunday. That may mean having to do your chores, grocery shopping, and meal prep for the week. It also means getting enough rest the night before. Switch off electronic devices an hour before sleep, and get to bed early. Ideally, you’ll want at least 6-8 hours of sleep.
Begin the day productively
Starting the week on the right foot can make all the difference in your productivity. On Monday morning, kick the day off by scheduling everything you need to do for the next few days. It may seem overwhelming when you begin. But as you visualize your week, you’ll feel a lot better about what you have in store at work.
Do something fun
Counter the stress of Monday by doing something that you love and enjoy. After work, meet up with friends, play your favorite sport, watch your weekly TV show. In short, treat yourself after a hard day’s work! A reward to look forward to at the end of the day may be what you need to get through a Monday.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Throughout the day, random thoughts can clutter your mind. These range from household chores to other distractions in the workplace. This mental clutter can feel overwhelming and impede your ability to work.
Engaging in some breathing exercises for just a few minutes can make you feel more rested and clear-minded. If you can’t seem to find the time, be sure to read our previous article on meditating at work. We recommend listening to guided meditation sessions via an app or meditation app, such as Headspace or Calm.
With enough practice and discipline, these sessions can simplify the act of meditation at work and help make it a daily habit.
Find purpose in your work
Viktor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning. He once said, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” The same can be said about our work. What we physically do is seldom as important as why we do it.
Find your motivation to carry out your role to the best of your ability. Is the work to benefit a noble or charitable cause? Then, think consciously about that end goal each step of the way. Or perhaps the work in itself supports or uplifts other individuals and communities. Consider how your actions ripple out and affect countless others, even if they may not notice.
One example: Consider a role that involves making a difference in another’s life through mentoring or coaching. Career coaches are experts in helping individuals make choices that contribute to happiness. Guiding someone towards their vision of career success will be rewarding and motivating.
What you can do to be happy at work
- Reward yourself for completing tasks – Celebrate the small and big wins. This might be waking up at 5 am or finishing that project you’ve been working on for weeks.
- Listen to mood-boosting playlists – Services like Spotify and Apple Music curate personalized playlists to uplift and motivate you. Find your favorite tracks and have them ready when you need to hear them.
- Drink plenty of water – Dehydration can lead to severe fatigue. Take a break from whatever you’re doing and drink a glass of water whenever you feel the least bit thirsty.
- Help a coworker – We’re all battling at least one professional challenge, and it’s encouraging to know we’re not alone. Offer help to your peers — the gratitude they show will be enough to brighten your day.
- Take breaks – It’s easy to get wrapped up in meetings or extended projects. But take ten-minute breaks whenever you can to get up, walk around, or drink water. These breaks will help you focus in the long run.
- Organize your work – Much of our stress can be attributed to physical and mental clutter of work. Make sure you keep a tidy workspace, both on your desk and on your desktop.
- Rest before work – No more late-night television watching or eating. Make it a habit to get quality sleep each night, and you’ll feel more alert when you walk into work.
- Have fun on the weekends – Spend it with friends and family, or pursuing a hobby. Work is essential, and your outside life can significantly affect your happiness at work.
- Reach out to others – If you ever need help or guidance, you need to communicate it to those close to you.
- Make friends at work – A workplace without friends can be an isolating experience. Individuals you can trust and confide in can help break up the monotony of the day.
- Use office perks – Water fountains, coffee, beer on tap, and cable television. These are just a few of the various perks that come with office spaces like Novel Coworking. These are included in the cost of membership, so be sure to take advantage.
- Plan a vacation – At least once a year, take a few days from work to travel or spend time with family. We can be so absorbed in work, and these breaks can help refresh our mind and body.
- Try to work out a flexible schedule – Request to work from home for a few days, or to alter your hours to best suit your needs. The comfort of a flexible schedule can do wonders for your work-life balance.
- Ask for a raise – Hard work and loyalty deserve recognition. As daunting it may seem, requesting a raise may help you out of some financial trouble or give you more disposable income.
There is this idea that work must be a dreadful and mundane experience to get through. VaynerMedia co-founder and CEO, Gary Vaynerchuk, explains why the “living for the weekend” mentality is a sign of unhappiness:
“The truth is,” Vaynerchuk writes in his blog, “if you factor out sleep, you basically live to work. It makes up the majority of your life. If you’re unhappy at work, then it’s time to take a step back and ask yourself what you’re actually doing – not by judging yourself or beating yourself up, but by thoughtfully analyzing what you could do to change your situation.”
Learn to love Mondays and hate Fridays. The best work shouldn’t feel like work. It should make you excited to get up in the morning. Remember to place your happiness and health before a paycheck, no matter how enticing it may be.