I’m a big advocate of doing what you love and loving what you do. I also know that sometimes that’s easier said than done, and if nothing else that it can take some time before you make a transition to a better situation. I like today’s guest post because it addresses the very real situation that so many people have, where they aren’t currently in a great place in their work life, and gives fun, creative suggestions for how to make things better. Enjoy! — David

This is a guest post by Ryan Rivera.

Most of us spend 40 hours or more each week at work – often spending more time there than we spend with our families. If your workplace causes you significant stress and anxiety, your ability to find happiness will suffer. It’s very hard to be happy if you’re often dealing with stress at work.

If you find that your job brings you significant stress, and you aren’t in a place to look for new work, there are strategies you can try that will make work more fun.

Note: A Job Can Be Just a Job

The first important thing to remember is that your work can only affect you as much as you let it. If your work provides you with too much anxiety, then stop giving it so much importance. And think of it as a tool to enjoy your life outside of work. That mindset will also help you come up with your own ideas to make work enjoyable.

Here are some ideas to improve your workplace happiness:

Make Stress a Game

Work may bring you stress, but there are ways you can turn that stress into something more valuable. Make stress a game for yourself. One example is to make a bingo card of all of the things that cause you stress and treat yourself to something special if you get a bingo. Another way is to take the moments when you are stressed and see if you can turn that into positive energy, using that energy to challenge yourself to accomplish new and different things.

Create Work Fun and Events

With your supervisor’s permission, see if you can do fun things that make work more enjoyable. For example, organize cookie events for every Friday, or see if you can get your workplace to sponsor an outing after work. Another fun idea is to hide friendly or funny notes around the office that others can return to you for prizes. As long as it’s responsible and won’t upset anyone, anything that makes work more fun is advantageous.

Plan Events Before and After Work

One problem that affects many people with work stress is that the stress bleeds into their home life. You’ll often find that you’ll go home feeling drained from the day, unable to turn off your stressful thoughts. This is giving stress even more control over your life. To help yourself, plan fun things to do immediately before or after work. You’ll create new memories this way, and you’ll reduce the ability for stress to impact your outside life.

Other Ways to Make Work More Fun

There are many things you can do to make your workplace more fun. You can decorate your desk. You can wear funny shirts under your work outfits that only you know about. You can create inside jokes for yourself. You can even write creative stories about work. As long as what you do is appropriate and inoffensive, things you do to make work more fun are worthwhile.

If work is causing you to lose out on happiness, and you can’t change your work, then you have to find ways to make work a more happy experience. You may not be able to avoid angry bosses or unfriendly coworkers. You may not be able to find new tasks to do or ways to quickly earn more money. But you can turn your work into something that causes less stress, and look for ways to make living with work stress more bearable. Once you do that, your overall anxiety levels will decrease, and you’ll find more happiness in your life.

What are some ways that you have made your work life more fun and enjoyable? Join the conversation with your comments…

Ryan Rivera struggled with workplace anxiety until he found help. He now writes about anxiety at Calm Clinic.