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Finding Joy and Managing Stress Through Toys at Work

The daily grind of work can often lead to high levels of stress and burnout. With demanding bosses, endless emails, tight deadlines, and long hours spent confined to a desk and computer screen, many office workers feel overwhelmed, anxious, and drained of joy. However, small steps can be taken to counteract work stress and rediscover satisfaction. An emerging trend that is gaining popularity is keeping toys and games at your workstation to provide quick breaks that lift your mood and re-energize your mind and body throughout the day.

From fidget toys to board games, toys offer a multitude of benefits that combat workplace stress. Fidget toys, such as fidget spinners, rubber stress balls, bendable wire puzzles, and molded plastic shapes allow for distraction-free stimulation. The simple, repetitive manual motions of fidget toys can soothe nerves and anxiety while enhancing focus and concentration when work demands your attention again. Beyond fidgets, other desk toys like miniature zen gardens, magnetic building blocks, and Pop It sensory toys provide calming, hands-on activities that encourage short mental breaks.

Having toys that co-workers can share also nurtures social connections and builds a sense of community. Multiplayer games like checkers, chess, jenga, playing cards, and brain teasers foster fun interactions with colleagues to take a break from independent work. Laughter fills the office when joking around and engaging in friendly competition with games. The shared experience remedies the lack of social closeness that often occurs in distracting and solitary office environments. Games induce positive emotions and a sense of togetherness with peers.

Toys and games have cognitive benefits as well. Puzzles, building toys, and other spatial and logic challenges activate different neural pathways than work tasks normally would, allowing your brain to recharge. Engaging both sides of your brain as well as unused areas stimulates creative thinking and innovation. Physically holding and manipulating toys provides variation from only using your hands to type on keyboards all day. The mental distraction gives your mind a breather and helps you return to work with renewed focus and clarity.

Beyond playing during breaks, displaying toys and trinkets at your workstation all day long provides Mood-boosting benefits. Surrounding yourself with items that make you smile, such as a favorite Funko Pop figurine, an amusing bobblehead, or your childhood stuffed animal perched on your desk, helps lighten your mood. Visually engaging toys, like Newton’s cradles, spinners, and infinity cubes, give your eyes something appealing to land on throughout the day. Frequently glancing at toys exercises your ocular muscles which strain to stare at computers all day. Whether you share them with colleagues or keep them for personal use, toys generate enjoyment and give you pockets of time to be carefree.

Implementing toys in the office does not mean acting immature or not taking your work seriously. On the contrary, spending a few minutes immersed in pure diversion from time to time helps you redirect your focus when you transition back to projects. Playing actually boosts productivity because you return to work recharged. Your improved concentration enables quicker and higher quality output. Laughter and social bonding with co-workers also strengthens teamwork and communication skills, leading to smoother workflows. Additionally, having toys easily accessible encourages taking regular micro-breaks to mitigate prolonged sitting. This promotes better physical health to avoid burnout.

Of course, reasonable limits on toy use during working hours must be established so playtime does not go overboard. Set expectations and align with your team or manager on parameters like when to use toys (during sanctioned breaks), for how long (5-10 minutes), and how often (once or twice daily). Designate specific toy areas rather than scattering them around workspaces. Be cognizant of noise levels and privacy concerns. As long as you remain professional and considerate of colleagues, bringing appropriate toys to the office in moderation offers pleasures that refresh your mind, boost your mood, and combat workplace stress.