Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work. That is precisely why it’s important for us to talk about how to create a zen workspace that helps us feel more balanced and productive.
COVID-19 changed how we work. Many typical office workers now have the possibility to work from home exclusively, or on a hybrid work schedule. Disabled and immunocompromised people have also gotten long-deserved accommodations to make working from home a feasible alternative.
Just because we may spend a lot of time at work in a traditional office setting, or at a room in our homes, that doesn’t mean we need to forgo intentionally creating a functional and comfortable workspace.
Here are some tips to help create your own zen workspace:
Use the Power of Sound
Personally, I’m a big fan of music I often enjoy listening to music when I’m sitting down at the computer and writing. Both music and other natural sounds (like the ocean, birds in nature, etc.) can be incredibly helpful in creating a zen workspace. If you find popular music too distracting, opt for instrumental tracks or ambient music. Most streaming services now offer a range of already curated playlists that you can choose from.
I think that just sounds, like soothing waves on a beach or white noise can be incredibly soothing too. At the end of the day it’s about finding what works for you. And if you work in an open office space with cubicles, see what the company culture is like regarding the use of headphones. My experience is that most people don’t mind if you use headphones as long as you’re not missing out on important conversation regularly.
Scent Can Make a Big Impact Too
No matter your personal preferences, scent is a huge emotional trigger for people. It is one of the strongest ways that our brains connect to memories and mood. This can help us, in a sense, emotionally re-experience some past good times and moods. If we use scent intentionally in our office we can create a more zen workspace.
Diffusers are a great option for creating a more zen workspace if you’re looking to switch up the energy in your space. Natural ones, with the use of reeds, require no energy but scents can dissipate quickly. Electronic diffusers offer a great deal of control (you can time the distribution, etc.) but tend to output a pretty strong scent so they may not be best for open workspaces where coworkers might not agree with your personal tastes. Another option is to use scent via an essential oil roll-on. These handy little canisters pack a powerful punch and they very easily can fit in your pocket or a bag. I recommend rolling it on the inside of your wrists as often as you’d like and taking 30 seconds to breathe in the scent. This is less invasive to others around you, but can really help calm or energize you, depending on the scent.
Curate Your Visual Field
Some workspaces have very specific rules and guidelines on what you can and cannot do in terms of decorating your space. I’ve seen workspaces where people use desks interchangeably depending on the day. That kind of setup can make personalizing your space a bit more challenging. But, as I mentioned earlier, we spend a lot of time at work. Wouldn’t it be comforting to have things in your space that bring you peace, comfort or even humor? Why not put up a picture or two of your loved ones or put a meme as your computer wallpaper that you see anytime you minimize windows? Hang pictures or quotes that you like and choose desk accessories that fit your vibe.
Remember that paper weight you got for your birthday from your friend? Let it live on your desk even if you don’t have a functional need for it. Chances are seeing it there every day will help remind you of that person and the good times associated with them.
Bring in A Bit of Life
Whether it be by incorporating plants in your office or bringing in pets, there have been studies that both help combat stress in the workplace. Unfortunately, not all workplaces are welcoming to pets but plants are pretty much a safe bet in most environments. Having plant life in your office will not only help create a zen workspace but could also help provide you with purer air conditions too.
When it comes to managing your mental health at work, every little bit helps. Take this post as invitation to do a quick assessment of your current work space. Discover what changes might help those long work days a little bit brighter. And finally, have fun with it!