How To Trick Yourself Into Thinking Working From Home Is Fun Again

Mini fridges, under-desk rugs, peel-and-stick wallpaper and more to make your home office feel a little more exciting.
Clockwise from left to right: Espresso machine from Amazon, Wicked Good slippers from L.L. Bean, record player from Amazon, under desk bike pedal from Amazon
Amazon, L.L. Bean
Clockwise from left to right: Espresso machine from Amazon, Wicked Good slippers from L.L. Bean, record player from Amazon, under desk bike pedal from Amazon

Amid the stress of a raging global pandemic, working from home may have initially provided some solace. No longer tethered to a commute or business casual dress code, you could enjoy slower mornings, pajamas all day and throwing in a load of laundry between meetings. Yet close to two years later and too many Zoom meetings to count, you may be getting tired of looking at the corner of your bedroom you’ve turned into an office. Your slippers are worn down. Your desk light is glowing dimmer. And your morning coffee routine feels like a caffeine conveyer belt. In short, it’s time to refresh your work-from-home situation.

According to Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist in Birmingham, Alabama, working from home for an extended period of time can create a feeling of being trapped. Without an office to commute to or hallways to roam, you may feel stagnant as you sit inside all day. While it may feel trite, Klapow suggests reflecting on the positive aspects of working from home. Can you make yourself a fancy latte every morning because you’re not rushing out the door? Take yourself on a walk around the neighborhood during what would otherwise be your commute?

“Creating a schedule that takes full advantage of being at home is the key to changing your mindset,” Klapow told HuffPost. “Ask yourself, ‘What can I do here that I could never do at work?’”

Working from home doesn’t mean forgoing all structure. Having a set schedule may help you remember to go outside, eat a yummy lunch or FaceTime each Tuesday with your favorite coworker. In addition to scheduling your time, Klapow suggests making the most of being at home. Wear a robe all day. Work with your cat in your lap. Heck, take a TV break during lunch. When your boss isn’t looming over your shoulder, you can really make the most of the workday.

As cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant rise and offices push back in-person openings, it’s easy to spiral into negative thinking. But it’s imperative to try to find little things to smile about — even if it’s just a mug with expletives on it or a new desk chair, said Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist in Santa Rosa, California, and author of “Joy from Fear.”

“If we’re deprived of feel-good moments too often and for too long, the psyche can actually feel starved and drift into depression and hopelessness,” Manly told HuffPost. “Happy moments build resilience to counteract life’s stressors. When we have frequent doses of happiness, even the most stressful times feel less draining.”

Sprucing up your home office is a way to help find more happiness in your day to day. From stick-on wallpaper to outdoor slippers, we’ve rounded up a ton of ways to trick yourself into having more fun while working at home.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

Add some greenery and a daily chore
According to Klapow, having daily (or weekly) routines can help you feel more relaxed. Adding some plants to your office space is an at-home trifecta — they help with purifying the air, look super cheery and they give you something living to tend to every day. The Sill is an online shop that delivers indoor plants to your door. They'll even send the planter.

Check out the plants at The Sill.
Ramp up your coffee/tea station
No commute means no rushed to-go coffees or teas. Step up your hot drinks with an espresso machine or patterned electric kettle, and make your house the coolest cafe in town.

Get the electric kettle from Amazon for $39.99 and the espresso machine from Amazon for $99.95.
Sip your drink out of a ridiculous mug
What's the best part of staying home all day? You don't need to use a tumbler and can enjoy your coffee from a mug. Find something gaudy, tacky, provocative or just silly.

Get it from LookHuman for $13.99.
Add some movement into your day
A day full of excel sheets and phone calls may be the least relaxing thing you can imagine. Manly said doing some midday yoga or stretching may make the rest of the day better. "If you find yourself feeling tired, irritated, or losing focus, listen to the messages your mind and body are sending you," she says. "Get up to stretch, to break the negative mood."

Get a complete yoga set from Amazon for $79.99.
Elevate your Zoom background with peel-and-stick wall paper
To spruce up your Zoom background without painting an entire wall, grab a roll of stick-on wallpaper in a print you like. It gives your space an instant makeover and can be taken down with ease.

Get a 20.5-inch-by-16.5-feet roll from Amazon for $34.34.
Find small relaxing routines you can do everyday
According to Klapow, creating some daily relaxation practices in your home office can help you release stress throughout the day. Lighting a candle or some incense as you work may help you slow down, breathe and create some healthy, relaxing routines.

Get it from Amazon for $37.45.
Give yourself some luxury with an under-the-desk foot massager
If you can't go to the spa, you can bring the spa to you. This cordless foot massager has kneading, rolling and heating options to relax your feet as you work.

Get it from Amazon for $79.99.
Turn your office into the hottest dance club around
"There’s nothing like singing and dancing to create positive energy in the midst of a tedious day," Manly said. "If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, put on one of your favorite upbeat tunes and dance like there’s nobody watching, because there isn’t!" Though your direct background may be seen on Zoom meetings, your ceilings are fair game for all sorts of decor. Hanging up a disco ball or some fun lights may encourage you to groove the boredom away.

Get it from Amazon for $20.99.
Warm up the wall with framed wall art or photos
Though you certainly can tack or tape up posters, Boston-based designer Micheala Carey said that using frames is an easy way to elevate the art in your space and make it feel a little more polished. If you have art or photos you love, you can often get frames for cheap at thrift or dollar stores.

Get it from Amazon for $65.99.
Keep track of what day it is with a colorful calendar
If you're going to spend half the day daydreaming about it being a different month, you might as well have a nice calendar to look at. When all the days start to blur together, a calendar can help you keep track of time.

Get the Framer's Market calander from Amazon for $13.49.
Give your office an instant upgrade with an Instagrammable bookshelf
Whether you keep your books color-coded or nix the books for various decorative objects and small plants, Carey said that having an eye-catching bookshelf can really pull a room together and make you feel like you're not a total hot mess all the time.

Get it from Amazon for $136.59.
Get back on your Zoom Happy Hour game, seriously.
According to Manly, it's easy for work from home to feel lonely and isolating. Rather than throwing yourself a pity party of one, she suggested linking up with a friend or coworker a few times a week to feel more connected. "Create a group chat with friends who are working from home, connect a few times each week to share stories, laugh, and give each other encouragement," she said.

Get this set of two wine glasses from Amazon for $18.51.
Lift your spirits with funky and fun lamps
What's worse than working inside all day? The sun setting at 4:00 PM and then working inside in the dark. For literal and emotional brightness, Carey suggested finding fun and unique lights.

Get a clam light from Amazon for $39.99.
Keep your cup piping hot with a mug warmer
When you're completely caught up in your housework and work-work and inevitably forget about the tea you made, this mug warmer will save you a trip to the microwave.

Get it from Amazon for $29.99.
Move your bones with this under-desk foot peddler
To break up the monotony and get some endorphins flowing, Klapow and Manly both suggested adding movement into your day. For antsy legs and nervous pacers, this machine lets you move your feet as you type your emails.

Get it from Amazon for $20.89.
Time block your day with a visual timer
"Many people find that they work best in time chunks of 25 minutes followed by five-minute breaks," Manly said. "That said, find the time-chunking increments (e.g. 50 minutes of work with 10-minute breaks) that best suits your needs. You’ll maximize the mood-boosting benefits of your breaks when the time is used to make a cup of tea, send a text to a friend, or cuddle with your pet."

It happens every day: You tell yourself you'll go outside in five minutes then get totally sidetracked and end up working until dark. This timer uses visuals to show you how much time is passing and will encourage you to keep your routines.

Get it from Amazon for $19.95.
Store your snacks in a desk mini-fridge
Sure, you could walk to the kitchen to get a cold can of soda. Or you could pop open your mini desk fridge because you're working at home and your boss can't see you. This one can keep food and drinks hot or cold and plugs into an outlet or 12-volt car charger.

Get it from Amazon for $43.18.
Make a sitting area with a couch or arm chair
For Carey, having a sitting area in your office can provide a change of scenery. If you're hitting a wall at your desk, try sitting in a comfy chair or couch to shake up your work style.

Get it from Amazon for $339.99.
Cue up a digital photo frame that switches pictures
A digital photo frame lets you cue up a slideshow of photos and hopefully get lost thinking about happier times.

Get it from Amazon for $49.99.
Get indoor/outdoor slippers to force yourself to go outside
When you're all snuggly in your jammies and slippers, changing into sneakers or walking shoes can be another barrier to going outside. But even spending a few minutes on a walk can totally change your mood. These slippers have a treaded sole and can be worn outside, meaning you have one less excuse to go see the sun.

These come in U.S. women's size 5 to 11 and U.S. men's size 7 to 14.

Get them at L.L. Bean for $79.00.
Spin some vinyl
Another perk of working from home? You don't need to wear headphones all day. To really step up your music game, close out of Spotify and add a record player and some vinyl to your office.

Get it from Amazon for $49.99.
Force yourself to journal for literally five minutes
Listen, when everything sucks, it's hard to find things to be happy about. Yet, finding something to be grateful for or to look forward to can really change your perspective. A guided journal may help you express yourself with some structure.

Get The Five-Minute Journal from Amazon for $33.99.
Grab a desk pad and extender to spread it all out
While you may not be able to fit or afford a larger desk, Carey said that desk extenders give you more room to work in a tight space.

Get it from Amazon starting at $8.49.
Roll out a vibrant under-desk rug that feels good on your feet
An under-desk rug will protect the floors from your chair and desk, warm up your space and give you something soft to rub your feet on all day.

Get it from Amazon for $114.83.
Make bathroom breaks worth it
"The key to being positive is to reframe the situation," Klapow said. "Embrace the benefits of being at home, including a private bathroom in most cases."

Revamping your home office doesn't have to stop at your desk. Wacky toilet covers or fun soap dispensers can make your bathroom feel more fun or exciting too.

Get a strawberry toilet seat cover from Amazon for $54.99.
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