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Closet-Hippie in the Workplace: A survival guide

The term ‘hippie’ is often stigmatized. It tends to be associated with smelly, sandal-wearing stoners. Enter closet-hippies. We work across many industries – from yoga studios to defense jobs, and even in government (shout-out to Bernie). We come in many shades, too. For fear of judgment (or dismissal), some of us play our cards close and stay well below the radar. Others may simply enjoy keeping a divide between work and hippiedom. A rare few will fully embrace their hippie roots and shout it from their cube-tops. Simply put, the modern hippie can take many forms and can easily slip by unnoticed. For the purposes of this article, we’ll consider the modern hippie as one who seeks to unite a healthy lifestyle with a conventional career. We’re painting with sufficiently broad strokes here.

A young, colorful woman with dreadlocks in shock.

Combining healthy habits with a full-time desk-job – It’s possible!

While you may place yourself anywhere on this broad spectrum (or beyond it in either direction), there are certainly challenges that are faced by all. How can we effectively combine a healthy lifestyle with the rigors of full-time employment? How can we remain happy and energized, and not be burdened by the hours we work, the people we work with, and the type of work we do? Many of us easily spend up to half our day (and by extension, almost half our lives) at work. So, this certainly shouldn’t be a frustrating, fearful or otherwise dreadful time. The aim of this survival guide is to help bring much needed balance and peace to you, and hopefully your workplace.

Preparing for battle

Preparing for your workweek is perhaps the best place to begin this survival guide. There are many ways to prepare for work, and we’ll go over a few here. Let’s begin with food and diet. Keeping up a healthy diet throughout the workweek can be incredibly challenging. Preparing food ahead of time can reduce stress and save loads of time. Let’s hit some of the basics:


When you make your Sunday smoothie, make more than you need and freeze it. Throw it in the fridge each morning in a container that you can shake. It’s a perfect afternoon snack. Throw in some maca powder for an extra boost.


If you’re a fan of maca, turmeric, or any other powdered herbal tea, this tip could change everything. Instead of lugging individual ingredients to work, consider making a paste for a week’s-worth of tea. The basic idea is to combine a couple tablespoons of raw honey, turmeric and perhaps some freshly ground pepper. Mix it into a paste and jar it for the week. Hot water is all you’ll need to bring this powerhouse to life.


There’s no magic bullet here. Find a few meals that you like and prepare them the night before as best you can. One of my favorite tips is to soak grains (like buckwheat) overnight. You can split the soaked grain in half, throw half in a smoothie for a filling breakfast, and dry the rest for use in a salad the next day.

Using a daily affirmation is another powerful preparation tool. This is usually a simple word or statement that sets the tone for the day. It could be “patience” or “I’ll smile at each of my coworkers today”. You could focus on how to better handle interactions with an uncooperative workmate. Whatever you focus on, bringing attention to it before you start your day will actively guide your thoughts and actions. If you’re likely to forget amid your morning rush, try linking it to one of your morning rituals. This’ll help you to take control of your day and say goodbye to passive reactance.

Let the negotiations begin

There’s a movement – primarily among Millennials – toward an improved work-life balance. Many doubters (including most managers) will often associate this tendency with a sense of laziness or entitlement. Staunch believers in the movement however, will be quick to tout the benefits of such an approach. What might this approach consist of?

  • Fewer total hours
  • Flexible hours
  • More mobile hours
  • Regular breaks (Pomodoro Technique)
  • Changed work practices
  • Healthy snack options

Let’s be honest, it’s easy to see how superiors could interpret these requests as those of someone undedicated, unmotivated and perhaps someone with one foot out the door. For this reason, it’s important to highlight how the business will benefit from these changes. Excitingly, there’s no need to push the truth. There’s plenty of evidence out there that happy employees are exceptionally productive ones too.

If you’d like to incorporate something from the list above, but are likely to be met with resistance, these tips may help:

  1. Suggest a trial period

    Nobody likes to feel put on the spot. If you are asking your manager for an indefinite commitment, they are likely to deny it up front. Why? The fear of regret may overshadow any potential benefits. An alternative approach is to request a specific trial period. This allows both parties to see how things go and reevaluate down the track. The immediate pressure is taken off your manager, making it more likely they will cooperate.

  2. Be clear

    When making a request, be very clear on the boundaries of that request. This will prevent any surprises that may lead to an early termination of your trial period. For example, if you want to work from home, be clear that you will try this once a week, and only on a day where you won’t be meeting clients. This shows you aren’t just thinking about yourself and are seeing the bigger picture.

  3. A female-employee raising her arms in the air out of joy.

    An improved work-life balance will make you happy and more productive.

  4. Show hard evidence

    If you’re yet to request a trial period, go into this meeting with evidence of previous success stories. For example, you might show evidence that you completed more transactions on days where you worked fewer hours. If your trial period has begun, focus on how you can showcase your exceptional productivity. This will help to reinforce their decision to give you more freedom.

More prana, less drama

Those who value natural living will often feel somewhat at-odds with their workplace environment. For a moment however, imagine walking into work feeling like your role is greater than the one stated by your job description. Imagine having the innate ability to elevate the people around you without asking anything of them. As the Hippiebanker discovered, this is possible with a simple change in mindset. Seeing part of your purpose as bringing happiness, positivity and love into the workplace can transform your own experience, while positively influencing the attitudes of the folks around you.

Did we just mention the ‘L’ word in reference to the workplace? Love is a word often consciously omitted from workplace vocabulary – perhaps because of its association with romantic love. But, what about the feelings of happiness and friendship shared by a group in pursuit of common goals? This too is a form of Love. In fact, studies have shown that this bond can dramatically increase the collective happiness and productivity of employees. Take the time to take care of yourself, and bring these good vibes into the office. The effects are likely to spill over into enhanced creativity, vision and motivation.

Does this require you to force your lifestyle preferences down the throats of your coworkers? Absolutely not, and that’s the best part. By embracing your lifestyle and walking into work with a renewed sense of purpose, you passively radiate great energy into your workspace. It’s up to your colleagues to raise their game. It’s likely that they will instinctively, perhaps without knowing why.
Now, this is an environment you won’t just survive in. You’ll thrive in it too. Think of yourself as an unsung superhero that defends the community, yet asks for nothing in return. The stakes are low, but the rewards are immense – for you and everyone around you.

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