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12 Tips to Stay Happy at Work



Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on

If someone asked you if you’re happy at work, could you give an easy “yes”?

It’s no secret that work can sometimes be tough on your joy meter. Long hours, challenging customers, and never-ending to-do lists can take their toll.

But those should feel like minor setbacks amid an overall feeling of well-being in your position! If that’s not the case, it’s time to act.

Rather than wait for the next company social hour to lift your spirits, there are plenty of small things you can do to increase your daily joy at work.

12 Tips for Finding Delight at Work

Some days, it may seem impossible to find anything that brings you joy at work. But if you’re open to it, little changes can make a big impact on how your view your job — even on the most hectic days.

1. Set Boundaries

When you’re feeling overworked, it’s hard to maintain a positive outlook. It might be time to discuss this with your manager.

Be honest about your feelings and let them know your plate is full. You can start a discussion about delegating some of your duties to someone else.

Remember that no one else can see and feel the full impact of your to-do list, so your manager probably doesn’t realize how you’re feeling.

2. Take Your Breaks

It’s a common misconception that skipping breaks will lead to higher productivity. In reality, taking breaks helps reset the mind and allows you to refocus.

By neglecting breaks, you can quickly feel negative and run-down.

So, the next time a 15-minute break rolls around, don’t simply push through it. Instead, get up and move for a few minutes, and you’ll generally return with an improved mood, an increased energy level, and better focus.

3. Invest in a Work Relationship

We’ve all been there — stuck in a conversation with a complaining co-worker who only wants to talk about the latest office gossip.

But what if you were the colleague who took a different approach?

Use your break or lunch hour to get to know your colleagues personally. You may be surprised how much you have in common!

Spending time chatting and laughing with others can go a long way toward boosting your mood and helping reframe your perspective on your role.

4. Ask for Flexibility

Nobody is productive all the time. Some people work better in the morning, and some people find that their energy levels peak later in the day. And still others find that their best work happens at night.

Trying to force yourself into a productivity routine that doesn’t match your natural rhythms is a recipe for frustration and burnout. Talk to your boss about schedule flexibility if you struggle to meet your productivity goals.

Perhaps your role will support a hybrid schedule that allows you to work from home a few days a week. Or, suppose you can shift to a later or earlier start time?

Working around your most productive hours will not only make you a more reliable employee, but it’ll make you a much happier one too.

5. Get Organized

A cluttered desk or an overflowing email inbox can add unnecessary stress to your workday. When surrounded by chaos, it isn’t easy to focus on the task.

However, you can avoid this problem by taking a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day to tidy up your space and organize your thoughts.

Schedule time to clear off your desk, file away paperwork, and delete any old emails. You may also want to create a to-do list for the next day before you leave work. You’ll hit the ground running in the morning.

Taking a few minutes to get organized can make a world of difference
in your stress levels.

6. Get Moving

When you start feeling overwhelmed or pessimistic about work, stop and ask yourself how your exercise routine has been looking lately.

If the answer is nonexistent, adding in some movement can do wonders for clearing your head and giving you a new perspective.

And you don’t need an entire sweat session during your lunch break to reap the benefits. Get some fresh air and move your body by taking a short break and walking around the block.

7. Treat Yourself

If you’re feeling down, do something nice for yourself.

Perhaps you can treat yourself to a new coffee mug — something that will make your work life more enjoyable — or just buy yourself lunch.

But there are also ways to indulge yourself that don’t cost money. You can take a few minutes to read your favorite blog, or bring your sketch pad outside on your lunch break to clear your head.

8. Bring Nature Into Your Workspace

There’s actually a scientific term for the connection between humans and nature. Most of us don’t even get close to the amount of fresh air we need to thrive.

Consider adding some plants to your office space as an easy way to boost your feeling of contentment. It’s a simple way to make your work life more enjoyable and improve your mood.

As a bonus, they may also help you breathe easier and focus better on your work.

9. Ask for a Stretch Assignment

If you’re feeling uninspired at work, it may be time to discuss a stretch assignment with your boss. Realistically, any task or project outside your usual scope of work will get your creative juices flowing.

Ideally, however, you’ll find one that can help you learn new skills or gain exposure to different aspects of the business.

A stretch assignment can be an excellent way to jump-start your career progression and rekindle your enjoyment of the job.

10. Choose a Positive Mindset

It’s important to remember that you’re in charge of your mindset.

Realistically you’re never going to love everything about your job, but try to focus on the things that bring you joy at work. Maybe it’s your comfy office chair or the fabulous taco truck that parks outside at lunchtime.

Positivity breeds happiness, so steering yourself toward the bright side can help make your job more enjoyable. A little perspective can go a long way in making even the most challenging days more bearable.

11. Spend Time Volunteering

Whether with your employer or on your own, taking some time to give back to a cause you’re passionate about is one of the best ways to boost your perspective.

But don’t worry if your schedule is too hectic to complete a considerable volunteer activity right now.

Studies show that simply being kind to others can improve your happiness.

So, whether it’s a random act of kindness for a stranger or a more involved volunteer project with a nonprofit you support, being kind can reward you in happiness dividends.

12. Invest Time in Your Professional Development

Many people who are unhappy in their jobs feel stuck in a rut. They don’t see any opportunity for growth or advancement and feel like their skills are stagnating.

Investing in your development is a great way to feel more in control of your professional destiny. When you see yourself moving toward your long-term career goals, you are more likely to feel delighted in the possibilities that your current position is creating.

There are many ways to invest in your personal and professional development. You can take classes, attend workshops, or read books on the subject. Whatever you do, ensure you are actively taking steps to improve yourself.

Making Joyful Work a Priority

It’s easy to let the joys of your work life fall by the wayside when the daily grind bogs you down. But making joyful work a priority is essential to your overall well-being.

By taking small steps to find delight in your workdays, you can make lasting changes that will increase your happiness at work and in your personal life.

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