Sometimes you just need to take a break. Over the years, I've mastered the art of constructive procrastination. It may seem like I'm not doing anything (and a lot of times I really do feel like I'm not doing enough) but everyone around me is still amazed at how much I can accomplish on a daily basis. I may have mentioned before that I perform best between the hours of 10-1. Something within me just awakens midday and then crashes again right after lunch. But as we all know, the workday doesn't end at 1 so there's a lot that still needs to be done. If you have an office job or work in a strict environment, taking a break is usually frowned upon. However, what many employers should learn is, the busier and more chaotic your day, the more important it is to take a break (or two!) at some point in the midst of all the craziness for both your mental and physical well-being. Here are 5 ways to take a break in your day when you need just 15 minutes to clear your head, get out of the kitchen or just up and out of the desk chair.
Go For a Walk
Did you know that “Prolonged sitting, particularly in work settings, can cause health problems..." So what should you do? Go for a walk of course! Walks are great because they not only get you moving physically but there’s something about the change of scenery that jolts my mind into thinking differently or creatively about whatever is on my brain at that time. There are many ways you can take a walk that doesn't look like a waste of time. Walk to the prnter, the water cooler, the bathroom or drive somewhere just to eat your lunch.
Read Something Not on a Computer Screen
Can you remember the last time you read something not on your phone, computer or e-reader? It’s scary, huh? I think our eyes need a break from screens as much as our legs need to move and our brains need to think about something other than work. There are some days my eyes actually burn from being overworked. Reading something like an actual book, magazine, newspaper or cookbook even is not only a great mental break (and forces you to think about something else besides work) but a much needed reprieve for our eyes.
Eat a Snack
I’m a big believer in snacks being substantial. 100 calories isn’t going to do me any good and I need a decent balance of protein/carbs/fat to feel satiated. I usually snack around 11 to keep me going until lunchtime. My favourite snacks include apple slices, cheese and crackers, or a peanut butter sandwich. Keep your metabolism going to keep up the energy.
Take a Nap
This is my favorite kind of break. I keep a pillow at my desk whenever I just need 10 minutes of peace and quiet. During my downtime, I like to take just a few minutes to refresh and reflect. A lot of times, I don't actually fall asleep but the relief of closing my eyes for a few moments helps my brain to shut off for awhile or come up with a new way of looking at the problem. If taking a nap isn't an option, try daydreaming. It can be surprisingly productive .
Yes, I’m telling you to clean something as a way to take a break and refresh yourself. Here’s the thing, cleaning is normally looked at as a chore we all hate doing. The things to clean (your desk, the bathroom, the kitchen…) all pile up throughout the week and before you know it, you’re spending half your weekend and/or downtime cleaning. When I feel myself needing a break in the day, I’ll pick a small area, room or surface to clean, give myself 10-15 minutes and get it done. It completely breaks the mentality of cleaning being a chore and instead makes it a welcome break in your day. Not only do you give your brain some downtime, your house or office gets cleaned in the meantime and you free up a substantial part of your weekend. Boom.