Ah vacation time! Luxurious beaches, drinks with tiny umbrellas, getting away from it all and putting your feet up. There’s nothing like some time off the daily grind to make you feel calm, cool and collected.
But what about the rest of the year, especially when things at work get stressful? What if there was a way to keep that summer calm even in coldest February? What if you could have a tiny, refreshing vacation right at work any time you wanted?
Well, break out the tiny umbrellas, because it’s time for 4 tactics that will give you a getaway at your stayhere!
Whether you have a tiny cubicle, or a corner office, your workspace could use some help from mother nature. What is when you looked up from your seemingly endless emails, you found yourself surrounded by a virtual jungle of lush greenery. Get your Baloo on and enjoy the bare necessities of life. Plants make the air cleaner, and reduce dust. They also, according to studies done at Texas A&M University, improve the level of compassion you have for others. Who knows, maybe a few Philodendrins is all you need to get over Phil in accounting heating up fish in the microwave (who DOES that!)
Fresh air is super good for you. Even a walk around the building will be great chance to give your brain a little break with air and sun.
This is much harder in the winter months, but a Hawaiian shirt over your coat and put some cheery tunes on your headphones and you won’t know the difference. Ha! Psych! It’s still going to be cold. BUT it will still make you feel calmer.
If you absolutely can’t go outside, stake out the sunniest window in the breakroom or anywhere you can hang out for a while. Any place that you would picture a cat stretched out in is your new home away from home come lunchtime.
Afraid other people will find your spot? A sign that says “This Spot HAUNTED!” should do the trick.
Animals make everything better (well, unless you are allergic). Not everyone can work in a hip office where people bring their dogs to work (especially you folks who are allergic) so you need to find another solution.
Hanging out at the local dog park on your lunch break if you don’t have a dog tends to weird people out. However, if you came back everyday in a different disguise people might just think a lot of people made a wrong turn and ended up there. However, your wig and fake mustache budget would balloon quickly, so you probably have to find another solution.
You could attempt to convince your work that a bringing in a smaller pet would be less trouble than a dog. Try making it look extra cute to really drive home your point. What about a hedgehog in a bow tie or a gerbil in a tiny sweater? How could anyone resist?
If neither of these options is possible, streaming animals are adorable AND you don’t have to clean up after their poop. The Service Dog Project features future service dogs. You will be amazed how much better you feel after checking in for a few minutes with these little bundles of fur. See you later stress
We’ve all heard again and again about the importance of meditation, but how many of us are actually doing it? For a lot of folks, the thought of making their mind blank and focusing on their breathing sounds, well, borrrring. They try, and then their mind wanders and they feel bad about it and give up
The truth is, even meditation that isn’t done “right” is good for you. Any way that you slow down, breathe deeply and relax is great for reducing stress and putting you in a better state of mind. So instead of worrying about doing meditation “right” think of an image you would like to picture for a few minutes. Maybe it’s a dock at your childhood summer camp, maybe it’s Central Park. Any place that makes you feel clam and happy thinking of it. Close your eyes, think of that place and breathe slowly and deeply. Think of the sights and smells and sounds. Did you just think of that time you sat by a big garbage can in Central Park by mistake? That’s okay, there’s no “wrong” thing in meditation, just relax and let that thought drift by as easily as the smell of stinky garbage wafts by on a hot summer day. Sorry, I mean just think of something else.
Keeping a reminder of that place at your desk will give you a visual cue to relax and breathe whenever things are especially stressful. Maybe that item is an ugly ashtray that you made in the arts & craft cabin at camp, or a picture of charming and hilarious New York-based comic Hari Kondabolu. Anything that reminds you of your happy place is great.
The truth is, we spend the majority of our lives at work, and it can be a stressful place. But you are a smart, resourceful and creative woman. Why not use all those assets to give yourself the kind of calm, comfortable work experience that you deserve? The more ways that you can find to treat yourself well every day, the less you will *need* a vacation and the more you will enjoy your time at and away from work.
Feature image: Colin and Sarah Northway