Do you feel too busy to take your breaks? You’re not alone. A study of office workers and managers by Staples brought to light that even though 66 percent of employees spend more than eight hours a day at work, more than a quarter of them do not take a break other than lunch. The most common reason was because they felt guilty for stepping away from their workspaces. It is understandable why taking breaks may seem counterproductive, especially when it you feel the pressure of deadlines or the weight of your workload. But, let’s look at them in another light. Tim Kreider describes breaks in the New York Times as such: “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets…It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
Do Something You Enjoy
Just because your breaks are not as long as your lunch doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy them. Incorporate things that interest you, such as reading, drawing or simply grab yourself a healthy snack. Just taking a quick stroll is beneficial because it increases blood flow to the brain, which can boost creative thought. And, regular walks can enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat age-related declines in brain function and improve memory and cognitive performance. Meditation is also becoming a popular way for people to spend their breaks. It’s one of the most powerful ways to relax your brain in a short period of time, lower stress levels and improve overall health and creativity. Whatever it is that you choose, make it a point to break away from work for your break so that you can reconnect with a refreshed and alert mindset.
Set A Timer
If you are worried about getting carried away on something during your break, don’t. One of the easiest things you can do is set a timer, that way you can allow yourself to focus without being distracted by looking up at the clock.
Aim For Structured Breaks
If your schedule allows it, try to keep regimented break times. This way you build a healthy habit of taking them and your mind and body both become accustomed to the routine. It will become something you look forward to, if it isn’t the case already.
Balance Both Tasks And Pleasure
Both breaks and lunches serve as the perfect time to get things done that have to be completed during business hours, such as getting a quick oil change, or calling in to schedule a doctor’s appointment. Just be conscious that you aren’t loading your break time with tasks that really can wait. Balance is definitely key.