Most people spend as much waking time in their office as they do at home, at least during the week. Even if you work from home, you probably spend a lot of that time in a specific room you’ve set aside as your home office. Wherever you work, good mental health and office decor are inextricably linked. The emotional impact of the spaces where you spend most of your time has a constant, daily effect on how you feel. Picking out calming office decor is one of the most productive things you can do to improve your mental health.
Improving your office Zen is a continual process of improvement, and you can always think of a few extra things you can do to improve a space. Between 30% and 40% of workers say their jobs are somewhat to very stressful, with the office environment being one of the major contributing factors to stress. This list is not exhaustive but is more of a starter kit for calming office ideas. These five ideas are a good starting point, and you should feel free to add whatever makes you feel comfortable at work.
1. Incense Burners
Incense burners are nice to look at, and they add an extra dimension to a personal office decor Zen. Filling the space where you work with pleasant aromas has a calming effect and helps you relax into your work. Incense is available in lots of varieties, such as cinnamon and wildflower. You can shop around to find a set of scents and strengths that work well for the office space you’re in. If you share your office space with other people, it might be good to check with them before burning incense to make sure nobody is allergic.
2. Calming Colors
It’s been known for decades that ambient colors have an effect on mood. Advertisers know this well, which is why they often use bright, friendly colors to sell their products. There’s no definitive list of which colors are associated with which feelings, but you can find a lot of tips online. Instead of taking someone’s word for it, experiment with colors on your own and decide which ones you like. Start with wall hangings or other easily moved objects of a solid color and then use the colors you like for paint, carpet and other large areas.
As you experiment with calming colors, you’re likely to find all kinds of opportunities to work them in. Apart from the carpet and walls, you can try colorful mouse pads and desk blotters, wall hangings and window dressings, if your office permits those. You might even put a spare monitor on a corner desk and turn it permanently to a calming colorful screensaver.
3. Zen Gardens and Bonsai Trees
Plants can also play a role in your plans to improve your mental health office decor. Small plants that don’t take much work, such as bonsai trees, are great for this. Small ornamentals take very little water and are easy to keep healthy with minor trimming. They can be pruned into attractive shapes even if you have no experience, and if you keep at it, you can learn as your trees grow.
Miniature Zen gardens are a nice accessory for small topiary and other calming office ideas you have on your desk. Desktop Zen gardens are often large, shallow pans full of white sand and small rocks with an ornamental rake. You can drag this rake through the sand and around the rocks to create an effect similar to the rocks and boulders in a typical full-size Zen garden.
4. Pictures of Family and Friends
Pictures of the people who matter most to you are obviously calming office ideas. One of the nice things about personal pictures is that you can keep a variety of sizes and styles, even in an office where you can’t control the color scheme or burn incense. Start by putting a few 3×5 portraits of your family near your monitor, then add a few larger pictures of friend groups. Hang a few pictures of your kids from your cubicle sides, or hang framed pictures of them on your office walls. For variety, try moving them around and updating them every month or so.
You can probably spice this up with some art you like. Many online retailers offer professional-looking stretched canvas reproductions of famous paintings. These can be made to order, and for an additional cost, you can have the supplier frame it for you. Several supply houses even offer to make painted prints of pictures you upload to their server, which includes portraits of your family and special events. You might have some fun with this by making your own art on the computer or finding funny pictures and memes on the internet and having those printed on canvas.
5. Books and Games
It’s very stressful to work continuously without a break. While it may seem counterproductive to keep a few books, handheld games and other diversions in your office, they can really help with mental health. The office decor effect of a handsome bookshelf speaks for itself, but these things are good for more than looking at. Having a short break to read a few pages of a good book or play a few rounds of a distracting game can help you relax. Possibly more than anything else, the freedom to vary your routine a bit lowers workplace stress and promotes good mental health.
Office stress isn’t a small thing. If the workplace environment around you is ugly, sterile or hard to look at, every day at work becomes an ordeal to endure. This can be true even if you otherwise love your job and get along well at work. Years of this continuous, low-level stress eventually takes a toll on your overall mental health.
For the sake of yourself and the people who care most about you, take your mental health seriously. If a touch of pro-mental health office decor isn’t enough to help your mood or motivation, you could have a more serious issue. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help dealing with mental health issues. Our compassionate team of counselors is on standby 24/7 to take your call, and you can reach us anytime by calling (844) 299-0618.