Thursday, April 27, 2017

How to Create a Joyful & Productive Environment

The other morning I was trying to get work done and it was just not happening. I felt this cloud over my mind, this heaviness in my body, and the motivation was just not coming. Then the thought finally came to me: What will help me feel alive right now?

In this moment I turned to diffusing a citrus essential oil to help rejuvenate my mind and spirit. It worked! My productivity and happiness increased in that moment.

That brings me to the thought: How can I always create an environment that brings me joy, productivity, and all the good things?

Here are some ideas for you:
  • Treats! This is probably the one thing that doesn't have to do with creating a joyful environment, but it sure helps me feel joy and sometimes even productivity if I have something to look forward to! Even if you have dietary restrictions or are cutting out certain foods, I encourage you to still find things to eat that you love! Maybe that's treating yourself to a fresh pressed juice at the little shop down the street once a week. Maybe that's Friday night pizza with the family, or a post-run donut. Yes, fuel your body with good foods, but also make sure you are fueling your soul. Sometimes, for me, that means my favorite apple fritter. And weekly, that means my favorite green smoothie from a local smoothie shop!
  • Treats can also extend to things. Do you feel invigorated by a vase of flowers on the kitchen table? Pick some flowers from your yard and bring them inside for a burst of color and scent. Does luxury French soap by your kitchen sink help you feel fancy whenever you wash your hands? Buy some every now and then! If it brings you joy, sometimes it's worth the splurge.
  • The book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. While this is a home organization book, the idea can extend not only to our physical homes but our whole lives: Only keep the things around that spark joy. Check out the book and give it a try!
  • Along that same line, fill your home with things you love! Have you seen the new Darlybird housewares? I swoon over the lush pillows and throws. I love to create a cozy space in my home where I can just relax. This also helps with temperature control in your home, because who can get work done when you're perpetually freezing or overheating?
  • Aromatherapy. While I am no scientist, I've been taught that the scent receptors in our nasal cavities make direct connection with the limbic system of the brain, which helps control our emotional responses. I believe it! Aromatherapy covers essential oils, candles...even simmering water with spices and orange slices on the stove. Play around with this. What scents make you happy? Citrus? Earthy scents? Floral? Aromatherapy is a quick way to get my mood up. (Note: sometimes you get what you pay for here. Unless you are simmering fruit and spices, or make your own candles, beware of mass produced chemical filled candles and $4 essential oils from big box stores. I guarantee that there are hidden ingredients in those $4 oils).
  • Consider making a playlist of songs that make you happy. You can turn it on whenever you need a little pick-me-up. An alternative: I love the website (and app) Noisli, where you can customize white noise sound combinations and save them. You can even add it to your Chrome web browser to turn on for a set amount of time (if you need that 25-minute productivity before you leave for lunch, for example).
  • Lighting. If you work in an office with unbearable lighting, perhaps buy a little lamp for softer lighting. If it's getting late and you want to wind down, perhaps use lamps in your home, twinkle lights, or light candles in the evening for the soft, calming glow. Cold spring morning? Light a fire in the fireplace. I think lighting is something we don't often consider (or I often don't consider), so play around with this and see how you feel with different alternatives.
These are just some of the ideas that I've considered and implement in my home here and there. I now pose the question to you: How do you create an environment that brings you joy, productivity, and all the good things?

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