Even when you love your job, work can be stressful. If you're constantly stressed at work, you could eventually see physical and emotional side effects like high blood pressure and depression, and it may be time to look for another job. But feeling stressed occasionally is inevitable, and even the most laid-back gigs will have you biting your nails at times. How do you balance work stress with your daily tasks? Everyone copes differently, but I'm a firm believer in the beauty of tiny hacks that may seem small, but will vastly improve your life The internet is filled with life upgrades that'll lower your stress levels, and it won't take drastic measures to implement them.
I work from home, so I sit at a desk in my guest room to get things done. It wasn't until I spruced up my desk with flowers and decorations that I realized how much a drab workspace affects my mood. When I say life upgrade, I don't mean winning the lottery or never having to work again, although those both sound like A+ options. You can upgrade your life by upgrading your office space, and it won't cost you a ton of money, either. Whether you have a corner office or a small desk like me, these trinkets, office items, and just general ideas will make your next busy day feel like cake.
1. Engraved Desk Plate
Unless you're in a quite formal office, most people probably don't have name plates. Change things up a bit with this 'Ask Me About My Dog' desk plate. People won't have any choice but to chat with you about your pet before stressing you out further. Win/win. (Cat version here.)
2. Gold Engraved Pencil Set
3. An Extra Pair Of Glasses
When I've been sitting at my desk for what feels like a million hours, the only thing that will bring relief is taking out my contacts... which I can't do, because I won't be able to see. (This was the case before I worked at home, but you get the gist.) Keep an extra pair of glasses at your desk & you'll be able to swap out your gross dailies as soon as you can feel them sticking to the top of your lids. Your optometrist will thank you.
4. Rose Gold Stapler
5. Dog Tape Dispenser
6. Life Cycle of Golden Scorpion in Lucite
7. BYO Condiments
Yes, the sad desk lunch is a fact of the modern human condition that we may never be able to escape. But you can make your lunch al desko a little bit less sad by keeping your fave condiments handy. Save packets of soy sauce, fire sauce, mayo, whatever floats your boat, or splurge on a full size bottle of sriracha to keep at your desk (because you can't trust the office fridge). Hey, your office is as cold as a fridge anyway, right?
8. Happy Thoughts Calendar
9. Egg Stress Balls
10. Drink. Tons. Of. Water.
I don't have to tell you how good water is for you: Those eight cups a day can help clear your skin, make you feel more full, and generally improve your life in too many ways to count. Get a big bottle to keep at your desk and drink from it throughout the day; you'll have to get up to refill it and to pee, making sure you'll get those steps in, too.
11. Faux Sheepskin Chair Cover
Any product that has luxury in the name already has my interest, especially if it's under $20. Turn your office chair into a plush place to hang. Bonus: It doubles as a rug, and will keep you from freezing over when your office has yet to turn on the heat.
12. Desk Lamp with 3-Level Dimmer
13. Set Alarms
Alarms may be your worst enemy when you wake up, but they can be your best friend during the day. Set an alarm to remind yourself to get up and walk around. Set an alarm for a block of time to devote to one single project (and not, you know, emails). Set another alarm for quittin' time to make sure you get out of there right when you're supposed to, and not 15 minutes later so you can just finish up this one last thing. More life.
14. Marble Business Card Holder
15. Get MealPal
OK, so there are a lot of reasons to bring your lunch from home. Less food waste, less money waste, and you don't have to spend time agonizing over what to eat. (Or worse — being relegated to sad cafeteria lunch.) But friends, there is a solution. MealPal is a meal service that connects you with food vendors in a ton of different cities — for really, really cheap. Depending on your city, you'll end up paying around $6 a meal — a little more if you want fewer meals or dinner, a little less if you want more meals and just lunch. They connect you with over 1000 local restaurants you can pick up your food from — another way to get those steps in!
16. Personalized Notebook
17. Get Boomerang
If you use G Suite (aka, the Google suite of products) for your work email, and you (like me) are prone to sending emails at ungodly hours, stop the cycle and get Boomerang. Boomerang is an email extension that lets you delay messages that you may have drafted when you couldn't sleep at 3 a.m., so that you don't get a reputation for sending emails in the dead of night (and don't cause your colleagues undue stress). Taking a few hours after work to catch up on emails is unavoidable from time to time, but don't drag your coworkers down with you.
Now, doesn't it seem easy to upgrade your life? Some of these also make perfect stocking stuffers for the people in your life, especially those who don't like spending money on themselves. Even if you aren't currently stressed at work, better safe than sorry, right? That's what I'm telling myself as I fill up my Amazon and Etsy carts.