With the exception of rehydrating and going to the bathroom, when was the last break you took today? This week? This month? Let me guess, you’ve been too busy and haven’t had time to take one? While it may seem counterintuitive, taking a short break every day will boost productivity, improve your focus and make you feel happier. Sounds good, right?
Don’t get me wrong: work is important, but our wellbeing is paramount and we all need to make sure we are giving ourselves the TLC our minds and bodies need in order to perform our best. But how do we fit it all in the workday? Look no further! I have compiled a list of 5 things anyone can do during a 10-minute break at work to feel more energised and work more effectively!
Get some air and STRETCH!
With so many people crammed into one space, the workplace can feel stuffy, which is not conducive to productivity and happiness. Going outside for a short walk without the distraction of a computer or phone will help clear your head and get your circulation going, making you feel refreshed upon your return to your desk. Furthermore, sitting hunched at your desk for 9 hours a day is not good for your neck and shoulders - if you would rather stay indoors, try some simple neck rolls and stretching exercises to loosen things up.
Read or listen to something unrelated to work
Diverting your mind by reading something unrelated to work will help you regain focus and improve concentration. Use this time to read a news article or a chapter of your favourite book - your mind will thank you for the short break! If reading isn’t your thing, then there is a wealth of podcasts and audiobooks available for free streaming and download online and on iTunes. If you would prefer something more interactive, there are some super fun apps to help you learn a new language, such as Duolingo. All of these activities will allow your brain to remain active, but not focussed on work, meaning you will return to work feeling refreshed!
Contact a friend or family member
When was the last time you spoke to your parents? Your best friend who lives abroad? Your sibling? Take 10 minutes out of your working day to write a thoughtful message or make a quick call to a friend or family member. Not only will it renew your energy, but it is a great way to catch up with your loved ones and to blow off some steam.
Do guided breathing and meditation exercises
Mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) have been shown to improve focus, memory, emotion regulation as well as reduce stress, just to name a few. Taking a 10 minute break at work to do some guided breathing exercises will have a noticeable effect on your productivity, stress management and overall wellbeing. You can download an app such as Headspace, or you can follow some meditative videos on YouTube such as Mindfulness Meditation for some easy-to-use meditation exercises. If this isn’t your thing, then guided breathing exercises have been shown to have a similar effect. Who knew something as simple as breathing could be so therapeutic?
Rehydrate and have a snack away from your desk
Move away from your desk, put the kettle on and make yourself a hot cuppa! If tea isn’t your thing, make your preferred beverage, or just a large glass of cold water. If you’re peckish, have a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. This will give you a boost of energy to keep you going for the rest of the day. Furthermore, you should use this opportunity to leave your desk area and have some time to yourself, or to briefly socialise with colleagues.
*BONUS* Organise your desk
Clutter is the enemy of productivity, and a clear desk equates to a clear mind! Dispose of any superfluous pieces of paper, cull your overflowing pen pot and get your desk in order. If you’re feeling exotic, buy a succulent or small plant to brighten up your desk. Super feng shui!
So there you have it - your illusions about being too busy to take a break have been officially shattered! From now on make sure to ask your boss’ permission to take a 10 minute break daily. Make it a habit by setting a break reminder, or invite a buddy along to make sure you stick to it, and soon you will feel more focussed, refreshed, productive and happier as a result.
Try at least one of these tips out this week and let us know if it worked for you. Good luck!
Till next time,