3 ways your work space can help your mental health.


3 ways your work space can help your mental health.

I don’t know about you, but where I work makes a big difference to me. Yes, of course, the actual location is something we all think about when applying for jobs, but one thing that always impacts how I feel at work is the physical space.

On my first day at one of my previous jobs, I had an anxiety attack. The office I worked in was dark, small, bare, and basically felt like an enlarged cupboard. I’m not a huge fan of claustrophobic spaces, they just don’t work for me. For some reason I’ve yet to discover, being in a suffocated environment literally makes my throat clench up.

Our environments should be important to us. If we don’t feel happy, or at the very least, comfortable, how are we going to be able to concentrate and give our best to our work?

A lot of people don’t realise the physical space we work in affects our health. Granted, if we spend too much time on the computer, we might get RSI, but emotionally, we’re affected too. We need to think about what works best for us, what makes us feel as good as we can and keeps our mental health happy.

Lots of light

Light has a huge impact on our mental health. When we see light it makes us feel more awake because it reduces the amount of sleep hormones produced.

The more light we get during the day means we produce more of our sleep hormones at night, so we sleep better. Having a lack of sleep can make us feel sluggish, miserable, anxious, emotional…you name it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a miserable cow when I don’t get enough sleep, so lots of light in the day is a big help.

Room to breathe

This comes back to the claustrophobic thing, but mentally, when we have space to organise our things, move freely and declutter our desks, we feel better.

You know when people say, ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’? Turns out they’re right about that one. There are actually studies showing that if our desk is too cluttered, we can’t focus or process information well, which definitely raises the stress levels.

Space to personalise

This one does depend on your workplace culture. If it’s a bit more conservative on what you can have at your workspace, or if there’s a hot-desking culture, you might be a bit limited. However, if you’ve got your own space, go for your life!

I always feel way more settled into a place when I have a few things that make me feel comfortable. A couple of easy examples are mugs and stationary, which is brilliant for me as I seem to have an obsession with both.

If you’re really lucky, your work might even let you have a plant or two, which I think we can all agree, is the dream. Having our own items around us can help us to relax, as we associate them with memories or experiences outside of work, and if we stay relaxed we’ll be more productive. I’d say that’s a win-win.

Written by: Maeve Waite

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