5 Ways to De-Stress Your Work Space


If you’re like just about everyone else, you’re freaking out about the economy, and your office is the mother ship of stress.

Lighten your mental load by sprucing up your surroundings and by making your professional space feel more like a safe haven than a hot bed of anxiety.

MainStreet turned to Nicole Sassaman, a Southern-California-based celebrity interior designer, for strategies to turn your worry zone into a happy space filled with optimism, confidence and all-around good vibes. Here's what we learned:

1. Turn to shades of happy. It’s true, studies show that the colors and textures used in your surroundings can really impact your mood. The brighter and more cheerful the hue, the more joyful it can make you feel, says Sassaman. Blues, by the way, tend to be somber or serious, unless they’re royal blue or turquoise. Use brighter shades, such as yellows, oranges, reds and lime greens, for painting one of the walls – an ‘accent wall.’  If you’re not up for painting, a nice framed print or poster of the same shades can also do the trick.

2. Personalize the space. The more you make the office feel like you, the more comfortable and secure you’ll feel. Sassaman’s secret? She creates her own artwork with inspirational sayings, like “Never say maybe,” and “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.”

“I also like to have things from places that I’ve traveled or want to go,” she says. She also creates dream boards by using pictures from magazines of objects or places that represent goals or inspiration, then writes her dreams next to them. “Keeping these visions around me helps to create them into realities much faster,” she says.

3. Surround yourself with living objects. Create a peaceful, energetic environment by adding live plants, flowers or fish. “The trickling water of the tank helps to keep the flow of energy in the space even when I am not there,” says Sassaman. When shopping flowers, choose varieties with the brightest blooms—like orchids—or the most interesting shapes to juice up your creativity. If you go for cut flowers, the more fragrant, the more they boost your mood.

4. Remove bad vibes. Even if you’re hung up on your ex or there’s a slight chance you might get back together, take his or her picture off your desk if it makes you melancholy. Same goes for fake or dead things, like silk or dried flowers and twigs—keep them to a minimum, Sassaman recommends, because they kill the positive energy. “Keep it positive and surround yourself with things that make you happy and that will continue to lead you in the direction that you want to go.”

5. De-clutter. Nothing can zap energy or make a face feel more chaotic than piles of papers, stacks of files and notebooks or loads of junk all over the place. Sassaman says one office must-have is a stylish storage unit, which keeps your mess behind closed doors. With disorder out of sight, you're free to think more positive thoughts, like where everyone’s meeting for Happy Hour.

For more of Sassaman’s tips, check out her web site.

—And for the best rates on CDs, mortgages, savings, credit cards and more, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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