Artful Advice

How to Bring Self-Love to Your Desk

The Papier guide to feeling good desk-side.


Nicola Rew @ Papier



How often do you show self-love? Most of us remember to do so at key times in the calendar, say the start of a shiny, new year or most Sunday evenings to chill and recharge for the week ahead. But what about the every day when we’re at our desks? Minds whirring, eyes straining, posture slumping, fingers crunching. This is perhaps where we need self-love most of all. Here’s our guide on being kind to yourself à votre bureau.

Embrace art at your desk
Home is where the art is. Surround yourself with paintings, prints or objets that really inspire you. Because the more beautiful and ‘you’ your desk looks and feels, the more content and nourished you’ll feel spending time there. Heard a quote that stirred something in you recently? Pin that up on your wall as a positive reminder too.

Create a sanctuary with scented candles
Nevermind the bathroom or bedroom, scented candles are just the best for desks. Not only do their fragrances promote relaxation and reduce stress, but the gentle flicker of the flame creates a calm ambience and soft lighting that’s much kinder to the eyes than our screens. To invigorate and relax, look to notes of ginger, jasmine, citrus, cinnamon and lavender, and be sure to choose a candle that’s natural and sustainable for the best benefits.

Compile inspiring playlists
Remember music has a special ability to influence our mood, and you are your own desk DJ. Find a radio station you can count on for feel-good, finger-snapping vibes and create playlists to suit different days of the week. Think soothing bird sounds for busy Monday mornings and funky mixes for lively Fridays. You’re in for a good day if you’re dancing at your desk, right? Check out a few of our Papier playlists on Spotify here.


Be kind to yourself when making notes
Forget scary CAPITALS, excessive exclamation marks and underlining in heavy, black pen when leaving notes on your desk. Instead, write yourself reminders in lovely felt tips with doodles here and there, and try putting kisses on your Post-its (for example, ‘Respond to Tilly’s email x’ or ‘Pick up dry cleaning x’). Your inner child will appreciate the fun colours and this newfound, softer tone of voice. Oh, and swap digital to-do lists for pen and paper – slowing your pace to write instead of type works wonders for the mind.

Keep your temperature just right
Feeling way too warm or too cold will only agitate you and disrupt your flow. Avoid unwelcome goosebumps in winter by always having a hot water bottle and a selection of delicious, warm beverages at the ready (hot chocolate, a wide range of teas, etc). And in summer? Keep hot flushes at bay with a mini desk fan and supply of ice lollies, if you have a freezer close by, of course.


Find the perfect light
Show your eyes some tender, love and care by attending to the light in your space. Open blinds or curtains to let natural light flood in and adjust them when the sunbeams become too strong. Set your computer’s brightness to match the brightness of your surrounding workspace, and keep your phone in a drawer or bag to avoid the temptation to check it unnecessarily – one LED screen at a time is enough. Finally, invest in a desk lamp for dusky afternoons.

Sit well & stretch regularly
Make an effort to get up for a short walk regularly, even if it’s just to grab a drink or look out the window – your body will thank you for it. Position the height of your chair so your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are in line with (or slightly lower) than your hips. And make shoulder stretches and simple eye yoga exercises part of your daily desk routine. Try rolling your eyes in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction or palming (warming your hands and cupping them over your eyes for 10-15 seconds).


Add plenty of plants
Plants are proven to have positive effects on productivity and wellbeing, so it makes perfect sense to transform your work station into a small garden. Our leafy, living friends absorb the CO2 we don’t need, releasing oxygen which aids a clear head and good energy levels. They also absorb sounds, insulating against distracting background noises. Caring for botanicals becomes a mindful ritual, while watching them bloom as the weeks go by brings a sense of pride and joy. Try Peace Lilies, Devil’s Ivy and Cacti for easy upkeep.

Stop working from time to time
Once you’ve completed a big task on your to-do list, treat yourself by reading or doing something stimulating. It might be leafing through an article from your favourite magazine, listening to ten minutes of a podcast or relaxing with a spot of sketching. It’ll give your mind a well-deserved break and you’ll probably come up with your next best idea when you take that step away from the grind.

Curate a drawer of magic tricks
You’ll never want for anything at your desk if you’ve got a trusty drawer of all the bits ‘n’ bobs you could ever possibly need. Dedicate a drawer to your go-to items, like hair bobbles, vitamins, hand cream, sewing kit, screen cleaner, pain killers, hangover cures, etc. Simply having the essentials at hand will make your every day more convenient and stress-free, enabling you to do YOU. Now that’s self-love.


Snack al desko, dine together
Fill your drawers with healthy snacks and treats to bring you energy throughout the day. Fruit, seeds and nuts will feed your brain when you’re on a deadline, and an emergency stash of your favourite chocolate bar or biscuit will boost your mood when you need it most. Remember, if you have the option to step away from your desk to eat lunch with others then definitely do so – it’s good for the soul. And always have a jug of fresh water on the go.

Surround yourself with beautiful stationery
A desk scattered with beautiful stationery is a happy place – it makes every task more fun and looks delightful. Start with stacks of colourful notebooks, an array of artful notecards and the diary of your dreams to organise your days. We recommend personalising it all to really make your desk feel like your nest and investing in a few very nice pens and pencils.

Need beautiful stationery to bring a little self-love to your desk? Delve into our wonderful collection.