Work is so crazy and busy and hectic and there’s never any time to take a break! Have you ever felt this way? Is it something you feel often?
It’s a common misconception that when we feel overwhelmed, there’s no time for breaks. In fact, many of us believe that taking a break when busy is an inefficient way to use our time.
This couldn’t be any further from the truth.
In fact, breaks actually help us stay focused. We are only human, and our brains perform better with shorter bursts of productivity, rather than longer extensive focus periods.
The science behind the benefit of a work break shows that breaks keep us interested in the tasks on hand, boost creative problem solving, and allow us to refocus and reevaluate our work.
Speaking of which...I've been working for 30 mins, so I'm going to take a quick pause and get back with ya...
Okay, I took a little walk around our space and now I’m back. Let’s get into this!
Let’s Get Rid of the Stigma Around Breaks
Breaks are good. Let’s say that a few times, so that we don’t forget it. Breaks are good. Breaks are good. Breaks are good.
Like I mentioned before, in order to be at your mental best, you need to give your brain a well-deserved rest. Taking time to eat your lunch or walking around the office to stimulate those great ideas are not signs of you being lazy. You’re in fact giving yourself and your productivity a healthy dose of love.
According to an article The New York Times published in 2013, lunch is ate at their desk by one third of employees. This may be caused by the fact that 38% of employees don’t feel encouraged by their companies to take a lunch break and 22% of the employee’s bosses think that regular lunches is a sign of you not being a hard worker (HR Morning).
There is countless research on the benefits of taking a break at work. Stimulating your creativity, keeping you productive, and motivating you to stay engaged are a few of the direct benefits of taking a break.
"Microbreaks are between 30 seconds to 5 minutes: just one improves mental acuity by an average of 13%" - Lifehack
With the positive effects a mental pause can have, employers should be encouraging and prompting breaks throughout the day.
How to Take a Proper Break
Though there are a variety of ways you can break up your day, these methods have been proven to make the most out of your rest time.
Pomodoro Technique: Work for 25 minutes, break for 5 minutes. Once you’ve completed this cycle four times – give yourself a longer break of 30 mins. Keep in mind, a break can be diverting your attention to something new. Check your email, organize your desk, catch up on your social feed. This method is best used with a timer and helps you break tasks into smaller chunks, to allow multiple timed goals throughout the day.
Ultradian Rhythm (Waking Rest-Activity Cycle): This method mimics our body’s natural rhythm. It consists of 90-minute work sessions, followed by 20 minutes of rest. The goal is to recognize when your body needs rest and allowing yourself scheduled time to do so.
52:17 Method: With the basic ideology of the first two approaches, this process suggests you work at 100% commitment for 52 minutes and then completely remove yourself for 17 minutes.
Brain Breaks // What You Can Do During Your Breaks
During your rest periods throughout the day, it is important that you spend it wisely. Here are some of the things you can do during your break that induce productivity.
Stretch: Giving yourself a good stretch (especially your neck and your back) helps get the oxygen flowing. Oxygen is loved by your brain. Use these simple moves to help get you moving the next time you need a quick break.
Take a Walk: Physically getting up and moving about can do wonders for your creativity. A change of scenery may help you find a solution that you’ve been working hard on figuring out.
Eat Some Food: Your brain also needs actual fuel to make sure it’s performing at its best. Hence why taking a lunch is crucial.
Look at Cute Baby Animals: Yes, that’s right. It’s scientifically proven that looking at baby animal pictures improve task performance. So, here’s some cute baby animal pictures to help you be more productive today!
Other Wellness Ideas to Keep in Mind
Taking work breaks is essential to your mental health and overall wellness. Be sure to also enforce other healthy habits like drinking about two liters of water a day, eating brain-boosting snacks, and motivating yourself and others with positive praise!
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