Dear Mountain Mama,

After a great weekend hiking in the mountains, I’m stuck behind a desk. My only view is my computer screen and the only ambient noise is the hum of the copier. Besides the drab environment, my whole body aches from all the sitting I do.

Since I can’t quit my office gig, do you have any tips for making the 9-5 grind bearable for an outdoorsy woman?

Thanks,

Desk Bound

Dear Desk Bound,

Coming back to the office after a great weekend in nature is tough.

But because what we focus on in life is often accentuated, let’s think about all the small ways you can improve your office time, instead of how much it sucks.

Follow these three steps to add more joy to your work life.

1. Bring Nature Inside. Frame some of your favorite outdoor photographs and buy wood frames to decorate drab office walls. Buy indoor plants for some green, leafy company during the day. Consider investing in a small fountain for the office desk. The pleasant sound of trickling water adds a serene element to stressful environments.

2. Rethink the Commute. Spend some time considering whether biking to work is feasible for you. With a little advanced route planning, you might be able to ride instead of drive. Imagine starting your work day fueled by the happy flow of endorphins rather than the residual anger of road rage. If biking isn’t possible for your situation, consider parking a little further than usual to get in a brisk walk before entering the office. Even a few minutes of moving your legs will help you start the work day in the right frame of mind.

3. Stand Up and Get Moving. Being sedentary can make a woman grumpy. Worst, studies have linked prolonged sitting to obesity, heart diseases, and diabetes. Often the office default is to sit. Start by incorporating standing into your work habits. Start with a platform or stand up desk to work at for at least a couple hours each day. A stand up work station can be as simple as cardboard boxes stacked upside down, as long as you find an ergonomic height for typing and computer use. Use conference calls to move around, chose the stairs instead of the elevator, and walk to a colleagues offices instead of emailing.

Try to view your work week as an opportunity for movement, and watch the little decisions add up over time.

Here’s to better work weeks to come!

Mountain Mama