A working from home desk

5 desk accessories to help you look after your mental health at work

Posted by for Mental Health

Want to make your mental health a priority at work in 2021? These desk accessories are designed to help you do just that.

Most of us will have found that working from home has had an impact on our mental health in some way or another.

While being out of the office has been a blessing for some, for many people, it’s been anything but. Whether you’re struggling with being isolated from colleagues or finding yourself more stressed than ever, the working conditions under which we’ve found ourselves over the last nine months have often been detrimental to our wellbeing.

It’s this fact that makes looking out for our mental health even more important right now – especially with the third national lockdown looming large in the background of our day-to-day lives.  

That’s where our Work It Out campaign, supported by Mind, comes in. In a push to get more of us taking care of our mental health on a daily basis, we came up with the Work 5 A Day – a series of things you can do to encourage mental space, connection, movement and stress reduction throughout your working day.

These five simple tasks – walk away from your desk, organise your time, reach out to others, keep moving your body and five minutes of breathing – shouldn’t take you long, but they’re scientifically proven to make a difference not just to your mental health, but to your creativity and concentration.

The tricky part, of course, is sticking to it – and as you return to work after Christmas, you might be finding it harder than ever to get back into the swing of things. So alongside getting familiar with the list above, you might also consider putting together a series of desk accessories and items to help you keep on top of your Work 5 A Day and make your mental health a priority throughout the working day – and that’s where this guide comes in.

Although the items listed below won’t automatically improve your mental health, they’re an example of the kind of toolkit you can put together to make looking after your mind easier while we’re working from home.

So without further ado, here’s our edit of the best desk accessories to help you look after your mental health at work this year. 

  • Present Time Alarm Clock

    Present Time alarm clock
    Desk accessories: Present Time.

    This adorable pink desk clock isn’t just nice to look at – it’ll help you to keep track of time and take regular breaks throughout the working day.

    Taking regular breaks throughout the working day is important for a number of reasons. Our minds need a break from concentration in order to recuperate and relax – when you fail to take regular breaks, your mind experiences fatigue. Because of this, taking breaks can help to boost productivity and decrease our risk of developing burnout and stress.

    In this way, having a clock on your desk makes it harder for you to get ‘carried away’ with work and remember to take a break – and it also means you’ll spend less time checking the time on your phone, which means less screen time, too.

    Shop Present Time Alarm Clock at Smallable, £14 

  • Selfmade Breezy Candle

    Selfmade Candle
    Desk accessories: Selfmade.

    Certain fragrances and scents can have an uplifting affect on our mood, so we shouldn’t downplay the power of the humble candle when it comes to our wellbeing.

    As therapist and women’s health practitioner Hayley Merrick previously told Stylist, “there are fragrances which can uplift and soothe anxiety, and those that can help to balance our emotions”. 

    Although picking out a calming scent is often a matter of personal preference, there are certain oils and fragrances which are particularly beneficial. Lavender in particular has long been praised for its calming benefits – a study previously carried out by scientists at Kogoshima University in Japan found that smelling lavender triggers a relaxing effect within our bodies.

    With this in mind, having a lavender-scented candle around could be a great way to help you cope with stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed.   

    Shop Breezy Candle at Selfmade, £24

  • Hex & Ginger Daily Planner Pad

    Hex & Ginger Planner Pad
    Desk accessories: Hex & Ginger.

    If you struggle to organise your time, this planner pad from Hex & Ginger could help you to feel more in control.

    Organising our time at work is not only important for our productivity, but it can help our mental health, too. Not only has the simple act of writing things down has been proven to reduce our stress levels, but when we prioritise and organise our time effectively, we’re less likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed by the day ahead.

    Writing things down and ticking off your ‘to-do’s’ one by one can also helps you to avoid multitasking – something which has been shown to decrease productivity, increase stress and leave you feeling mentally exhausted.

    With slots to help you monitor your daily schedule, identify the day’s main tasks and remind yourself of things to do tomorrow, this A5 planner comes with 50 tear off pages, so there’s plenty of space to plan out your time.

    Shop Daily Planner Pad at Hex & Ginger, £6.50

  • Canopy Plants Chinese Money Plant

    Chinese Money Plant
    Desk accessories: Canopy Plants.

    Did you know that having a plant on your desk has the potential to reduce your stress levels throughout the day?

    A study conducted by a team of scientists at the University of Hyogo in Japan at the beginning of 2020 found that, when office workers had a plant on their desks to take care of, their anxiety decreased “significantly”. In fact, the scientists said that simply having a plant in their line of sight contributed to stress reduction “across the board”.

    With this in mind, investing in a plant (or five) for your workspace could be a great way to relieve daily stress – something that’s become a much bigger problem now we’re working from home.

    The Chinese money plant also has a quick growth rate and easy-care nature, so you don’t need to worry about killing it anytime soon.

    Shop Chinese Money Plant at Canopy Plants, £14

  • Papier Wellness Journal

    Desk accessories: Papier.

    Take some time to reflect throughout your working day with the help of this wellness journal from Papier.

    There are lots of different pages for you to fill in, but the space for recording what you’re grateful for is particularly helpful for your mental health.

    Practising gratitude isn’t just about the satisfaction you might get from appreciating the things you enjoy – studies have proven that people who regularly practise gratitude have better physical and mental health, sleep better and have higher levels of self-esteem.

    In fact, one study found that those who engaged in gratitude journaling for five minutes each day saw their long-term happiness rise by 10%.

    In this way, incorporating this journal into your working day could not only help you to take some time for yourself, it also could benefit your mental health in the long-term.

    Shop Wellness Journal at Papier, £24.99

If working from home is taking its toll on your mental health, you’re not alone. From the isolation of being separated from colleagues to the stress of trying to communicate via technology, there are a number of reasons why you might find this time particularly challenging.

So, what can we do about it? We’ve got a plan.

Our new Work It Out campaign, supported by Mind, aims to give you the tools and resources you need to take care of your mental health while you’re stuck at home. From completing your Work 5 A Day to dealing with issues including to anxiety, loneliness and stress, we’ll be exploring all aspects of WFH wellbeing.

For more information, including how to complete your Work 5 A Day, you can check out our guide to getting started.

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s junior digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.