Add Balance, Take a Break
Do you ever wish you could fly to an island and forget the daily stress of work and home life? When you get busy with work and home demands, it’s easy to forget to take breaks or claim you “don’t have time.” The truth is, taking breaks and making time for yourself will actually increase your productivity throughout the day. It’s almost like treating your break as a reward for accomplishing your tasks. But how do you make time for that break and maximize the time?
To maximize your time and give your mind and body the recovery it needs, take breaks from your work (even chores or house work) every 50 to 90 minutes. The United States Army Research Institute discovered that ultradian rhythms have 90-minute cycles, meaning you could take a break every 90 minutes. If you struggle with 90-minute working stretches, try to break every 50 minutes. When you take a break, it should be for about 15 to 20 minutes. Frequency is the name of the game here, so find a schedule that works for you and try to stick to it. Even put it on your calendar as a reminder to yourself and your colleagues!
When you take a break, you should be doing anything but your regular work (again even if that work is house work or chores). Here are some ideas for good activities to do during break times:
- Move Your Body: Taking a walk, stretching, and even participating in a 15-minute yoga video are great ways to move your body during a work break. Moving around gets your blood flowing and clears your mind. Moving outside is even better since you’ll get a dose of vitamin D!
- Be Social: Research has found that strong social connections actually boost productivity and make employees more passionate about their work. Ask a co-worker to coffee or to take a walk with you, and make sure to talk about something other than that big project you’re working on! This is a chance to get to know one another.
- Take Regular Vacations: While quick breaks during your day and a day off here and there are great, we all need time to truly disconnect and unwind. It is estimated that an average of 9.2 vacations days go unused each year, and 60% of Americans said they worked through their vacations. Disconnecting from work allows you to destress, improves your mood, and even helps you see the big picture.
- Be Mindful: Practicing mindfulness with deep breathing, meditation, and