Career & Money

Romanticize Your Work Life With These Simple Tips

We all see it on social: "Romanticize your life" and having "main character energy." The trend is trending, for sure, and it doesn't seem to look like it'll lose momentum any time soon. And I'm not mad at it. As Black women, we deserve to romanticize any and everything about ourselves and our lives that we want to. You can embrace ways to romanticize your work life that allow you the freedom to enjoy, even when it's part of the job you absolutely hate.

Romanticizing even the most simple parts of our lives is nothing new to Black women. Our favorites, like Maya Angelou, Tracee Ellis Ross, Eartha Kitt, and Beyoncé have all either embodied, talked about, or written about creating big moments out of the minor, and they're always the main character. We know all too well how to normalize being "extra," and we unapologetically do it without even blinking an eye. (The other day, my sister came to the house to braid my hair and I served custom mocktails in my newest eclectic cocktail glasses I found at HomeSense, because, romanticize a kitchen-tician moment, shall we?)

Here are three small but impactful and self-affirming ways to add a little more delight, allure, and joy into your work day:

1. Invest in decorating your space in a way that reflects your true personality and work style.

I find romance in my surroundings, whether it's choosing to go to a chic coffee shop to work or having lunch on an outdoor patio filled with my favorite lush greenery or bright colors. And when it comes to my office space, I have to have inspiration on my walls, in the background sounds, and even in the temperature. I've recently invested in buying vinyl albums with music that keeps my motivation going and the writing juices flowing. (Janelle Monáe'sThe Age of Pleasure is my latest, and it allows me to escape into an alluring playland of spunky confidence and joy.)

Even if it's a cubicle, add an aromatherapy element (within reason and consideration of your office mates). Treat your space to a weekly or monthly bouquet of flowers (or invest in some great faux ones). Include an easy-to-maintain snake plant or a glorious spider plant that you create a routine of watering and nurturing.

Get that new cordless mouse in a neutral or metallic color. Keep dainty notepads and journals around to write Thank-you cards or send birthday greetings to clients, coworkers, or industry friends. Add mood bulbs in your lamps or overhead lighting for creative brainstorming, or a meditative sound machine for in-office breaks.

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2. Make getting dressed for work a time for self-expression and self-care.

I feel much more ready to conquer my work day when taking meetings or even just doing the regular workday things when I'm wearing something not only comfy but chic. I'm not big on fussy fashion so that means, for me, sticking to a uniform of a well-fitting blazer, some casual slacks (or even sweatpants in a luxe or dressier fabric), and either a graphic tee or a tank. When it's cold (which is rare for me because of where I live), I'll throw on a scarf or swap the blazer for a cardigan, coat, or shacket in a bright hue or a print. For shoes, I either wear a pump, sneakers, or strappy sandals.

Put the sweatpants, pajama sets, or ill-fitting throw-ons away and start dressing. It doesn't have to be stressful, too dramatic, or expensive. If your job requires casual wear, take time to invest in quality pieces, a daily routine where your clothing is set the day or week before, and a deliberate step-by-step daily grooming habit that screams luxury in the way you do it (whatever that looks like for your lifestyle and obligations.)

I love creating different combos with the same work outfit formula, and when I can take these items out with ease and take my time putting them on, I don't have to rush through my skincare and haircare routines before starting work.

If you're not into dressing up, that's fine, but still, take the deliberate time to put that athleisure wear together in a way that affirms that you love yourself and you are super-aware that your look is the first impression people get before you even utter a word. Embrace your body type, so-called "flaws" and all, and wear things that make you feel refreshed, empowered, and confident.

Find ways to take the stress out of dressing, like getting a stylist, sticking to a capsule wardrobe, or allowing your favorite fashion influencer to do all the work for you. If you find that working from home has you a bit lazier and indifferent when it comes to grooming and getting dressed, start dressing to go to a co-working space, coffee shop, or park at least once per week.

3. Date yourself...as a job candidate who is somewhat taken but is open to other options.

I remember those fun days of the "roster," where I'd date multiple men and keep my options open simply because I just wasn't going to let anybody's son Reesa Teesa me into commitment. What was fun about this was the pressure was off, I could enjoy different personalities and experiences, and I could have fun in the process of finding the "one." (When I met my current man of seven years, I was dating three guys who I had to cut off once I fell in love. And to add context, just because you're dating someone, doesn't mean you're sleeping with them. Sad I have to note that, but just looking at the Black love and dating conversations being had in these Internet streets, I feel I must.)

The same way you'd have an adventure, keeping your options open while dating, is the same thing you can do being a 9-to-5 professional. It's an adventure that might boost your motivation and joy in working.

Just because you like your current job doesn't mean you shouldn't be shooting your shot at other places, especially if you're not 100 percent satisfied or are looking to advance. Within reason, this is a great way to explore what's fresh and new in the job market, what employers are looking for today, and what other wonderful career adventures are out there that you might be missing while you're comfortable at your current job. Be sure to know your company policies, use discretion, and only agree to interviews with companies that allow you to level up via travel opportunities, a higher salary, or more fulfillment.

If interviewing at other companies isn't your thing, try taking on a fun side hustle, where you can place your passions that don't fit your job per se, into something else. Enjoy the ride of building something from scratch, seeing it flourish, trying new skills, and meeting new people.

As with all things, we should find joy in our careers and the paths we're taking to fulfill our highest dreams.

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