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4 rituals to do first thing for a happier work day


How to be happier at work
Photo: Stocksnap/Bench Accounting
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Probiotic cold brew isn’t the only route to staying sane, healthy, and productive when things get crazy at the office.

Sophie Keller_HeadshotPerhaps no one knows this better than Sophie Keller, co-founder and Chief Happiness Officer—for real—of Los Angeles’ Village Workspaces. When the brand’s second co-working space opened in West LA last month, Keller and her crew made employee wellness a top priority, bringing in an organic and gluten-free vending machine, desk-side Juice Served Here delivery, and in-house yoga, fitness, and meditation classes, among other things. (Um, when can I move in?)

All of these healthy perks aren’t just an attempt to chase trends, says the positive psychology expert: “[Employee] happiness and wellbeing are the greatest economic advantages a company can have… so when we make our members happier, we’re hopefully influencing their bottom line.”

So what if your workplace doesn’t have free massages and an open bar? According to Keller, there are loads of little rituals we can adopt on an individual level to boost job satisfaction. “It’s easy to let the day control you, instead of you controlling the day,” she says, adding that having a happiness practice is a major source of empowerment and, in turn, on-the-clock contentment.

Here, Keller fills us in on four of her favorite rites that make the 9-to-5 a little more blissful—what you put in your coffee cup, however, is still totally your call.

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Make your to-do list more mindful

If your out-of-control workload sends you into panic mode, Keller suggests approaching it with intention. “When you get to work, take two minutes to get in the zone and manifest calmness,” she says. “Then, write a list of goals you want to accomplish that day.”

Now, here’s the kicker: After numbering your goals in order of importance, Keller suggests putting a star next to all the tasks you can accomplish in two minutes or less, and tackling those first. “You can get five tasks done in 10 minutes,” she says. “I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to get on a roll quickly!”

Get moving

By now, you probably know why it pays to have a standing desk—Keller says they help you burn calories, up circulation, and boost productivity, all of which ultimately lead you to feel happier.  “I do at least two to three hours standing each day, and to help me stay focused, I pick projects that I know will take that much time to complete,” she says.

If that’s not an option, Keller suggests breaking up your day with a walk or short bout of exercise for a natural energy boost—and some mood-enhancing sunshine.

Jazz up your H20

If you don’t already keep a jug of water at your desk, you should—and refill it often (duh). But to make hydrating feel more like a treat than a chore, Keller suggests infusing it with whole fruits.

“My favorite lately has been mango, ginger, and raspberry,” she says. “Raspberries are full of fiber, ginger reduces inflammation and increases circulation, while mango helps alkalize the body and strengthen the immune system.” Buh-bye, 3 p.m. cookie cravings (and the inevitable post-cookie sugar crash).

Color code your desk

“Studies have shown that colors have varying impactful functions,” says Keller. Try choosing desk accessories in a variety of hues, and then swapping them out depending on what you need that day—for instance, yellow gives your space a pop of energy, while blue helps to alleviate anxiety.

Consider this your color therapy cheat sheet. And once you’ve got your desk in check, it’s time to upgrade your office snacks: Check out our list of the cleanest packaged bites, or DIY it with these energy-boosting recipes