How to Zen workspace for online learning 

Proper planning support mental health

According to, nearly 93 percent of American households with school-age children report some form of distance learning. This means that most students are bound to the same workspace all day every day. 

Because online learning is unprecedented and new to most students, anxiety levels have skyrocketed. Here are some helpful tips to create an online learning workspace that will help decrease your stress levels. 

Get Rid of the Clutter 

If you are learning from home, chances are your workspace is cluttered with papers, sticky notes, office supplies, and knick-knacks. As explained in an article by called “Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies,” clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli. This causes our senses to work overtime, leading to increased levels of anxiety. You should regularly clear your desk/workspace of clutter in order to bring mental clarity. The only items on your desk should be in an organized manner for performing current tasks. 

Surround Yourself With Live Plants 

Not only do plants brighten up decor and bring fresh air into your workspace, but they can also reduce stress and anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, interaction with indoor plants such as looking at and touching can reduce psychological stress. 

Even the potting soil is beneficial to keeping stress and anxiety levels under control. In an article by, Joey Doherty, a Certified Wellness Counselor, explains how soil contains microbes called ¨outdoorphins,¨ which work as natural antidepressants. They boost your mood by releasing cytokines, which leads your brain to produce more serotonin. Therefore, you should surround your workspace with some live plants. 

Play With Color

Selecting colors in your workspace strategically can help reduce stress and anxiety. An article called “Color Your World to Relieve Stress” on, offers insight into the best colors to surround yourself with to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. 

Surrounding your workspace with the color green—a quiet, restful, soothing color—can invite harmony into your workspace and diffuse anxiety. Different shades of blue, a peaceful color, can encourage a sense of calm by slowing your heart rate, which is extremely helpful for stress management. Purple—a color representing strength, wisdom, and peace— invokes a tranquil feeling, which can also help reduce stress. 

However, not all colors are created equal when it comes to coping with stress and anxiety. You should avoid certain colors which are often bright and can overstimulate the mind by increasing heart rate and signal rapid breathing. These colors are red, yellow, orange, and white.

Find the Light 

Natural light can boost happiness, productivity, and a good night’s sleep. But more importantly natural light can relieve anxiety. Dr. Brenda McMahon of the Neurobiology Research Unit at the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark explains how people who are exposed to the wavelengths of natural light become better at coping with anxiety-provoking experiences. This is because natural light improves communication between the regions of the brain and that are central to our handling of emotions such as stress and anxiety. 

Thus, you should make an effort to set up your workspace around areas with natural light in order to benefit from its anxiety and stress-relieving effects. 

Amidst the global pandemic, anxiety and stress levels have drastically risen within students, as they are dealing with many unprecedented changes, including learning from home. Allowing your online learning workspace to relieve your stress and anxiety does not require drastic changes. With these four simple tips, you can maximize your online learning workspace´s stress and anxiety-relieving effects during this unusual period of our lives. 

To learn more about what can help relieve anxiety and stress, visit these articles.

This article originally appeared in The Talon, the student news site of Clayton Valley Charter High School in Concord.