Ready to Get Rid of the Soul-Sucking Vibe in Your Cubicle?

Does seeing your desk chair every day make your spirit sink just a little?

Ever stand in the doorway and think..."ugh, I just don't want to be here."

Or maybe you just grin and bear it while you wait for your "real life" to start at 5:30 pm.

This post has seven ideas to give energy to your workspace and kick the "soul sucking" vibe to the curb.

Admit you aren't going to do it.

You know that last inch of papers on the bottom of that stack? Toss them. If any of the things in the pile were a priority, they would already be dealt with. Those trade magazines that you are never going to actually read? Recycle them. The handouts from that workshop you attended six months ago? You already have the value from the training inside of you. Let them go.

Sometimes we just have to be honest with ourselves that certain things are not going to get done. Rather than letting them age in place, make a decision and let it go now. As long as those things are sitting there, they are silently taunting you with their undone-ness.  When you release the items you release the tasks, and it makes the space feel better.

If you don't have sunlight, fake it. 

Not only is natural light healthy for our bodies, but it can also make us feel more positive, and has been shown to increase workplace productivity. A study by the Lighting Research Center at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, indicates that daylight strengthens sales in retail stores because it elevates buyers' moods. (And if it elevates buyers' moods, it can elevate yours too.)

Add a lamp with a natural daylight bulb to your desk or—better yet—see if you can get building maintenance to swap the flourescents over your desk to full spectrum daylight bulbs.

Add a plant

Houseplants not only clean the air, but we respond to them psychologically. Treehugger.com reports that a number of studies with workers show that studying or working in the presence of plants can have a pretty dramatic effect. As with simply being in nature, being around plants improves concentration, memory and productivity. Being 'under the influence of plants' can increase memory retention up to 20 percent, according to a University of Michigan study.

Indoor plants that are easy to care for include golden pothos, spider plants, jade plants,
diffenbachia, and English ivy. Need lower maintenance? Try air plants. As the name implies, all they need to thrive is air and they do well in limited sunlight. 


Get real dishes

Seriously, is there anything more depressing than the beige tray of a microwave meal? Get a real plate, fork and spoon to keep tucked away in a desk drawer and have an actual meal. (Even if it is just a Lean Cuisine transferred.) 

Want to take it up a notch? Consider getting a tea or matcha set. Preparing tea has a ritual to it and can invite you to take a legitimate break.


Simplify visual lines

Sometimes just clearing the visual landscape can bring a sense of calm to your space. Have a stapler you rarely use? Consider relocating it to a work room. Too many tchotchkes from trade shows? Donate them. A sea of dusty pictures? Clear the frames and set your favorite photo as your computer desktop.

Having clean flat surfaces gives our brains less to process.  It also creates spaces to work.


Change the way the space smells. 

Diffusers can be a problem at the office because the scent might be unwelcome in an adjacent space where they like their soul-sucking vibe. But a cotton ball, felt square or small pendant can hold one or two drops of an essential oil to lift vibration in a small area.

Citrus oils are cheerful. Rosemary can prevent migraines. Lavender relieves stress. And earthy scents like cedar or patchouli can be grounding.


Improve the soundscape.

We've all experienced how music can impact our mood, but did you know that it can improve your concentration? Up to 400%? Focus@Will is a subscription music service with soundtracks designed to boost concentration. And Hipstersound can make your cubicle feel like your favorite coffee shop for the price of an app. But even if you don't use a music service, simply being intentional about using our headphones to create a peaceful or energetic vibe can change the way we feel about our space.


The thing is that while there is an awful lot we can't control about our workspaces, there is a lot we can.  And if small changes aren't enough to make your eight hours a day better? Well, it may be time to look for a better job altogether.  One that is life-giving. 

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