Cut your Daily Stress with Short Meaningful Breaks.
Is stress a factor in your every day? Does it help you power through or is it the outcome of taking on too much, meeting the needs of others and denying your own needs
Is taking a break during your busy day something that happens by chance, through planning or not at all?
If you do take a break, what kind of break is it because that can determine the effect on your job satisfaction and wellbeing.
Some research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology looked at data from 95 employees (from 22 – 67 years old) over a typical 5-day workweek. The breaks were recorded and overall the scientists reviewed 959 break surveys. Here were the 4 key findings:
1. The best time of day to take a break was mid-morning.
A great time to have a coffee but do you stop and just grab one, take it back to your desk and continue working or if at home, do you drink it as you are putting washing in the machine, writing the shopping list or on your way to a playdate?
What about if you stepped outside and took a short walk? You might walk around the block; you might walk to a coffee shop and buy your favourite one beverage and then could you take 10 mins to sit on a bench and just ‘be’ focusing on your coffee or tea?
2. The best breaks were when the employees did things that they enjoyed.
This could be going to the gym, going for a walk, chatting to a friend/colleague. Doing these kinds of things mean you are focussed on something else and interacting too? What is your short favourite thing to do? Read a chapter of your current book or perhaps leaf through a magazine. Make a call to a friend and have a catch up are just a couple of examples.
3. Good breaks have a positive effect on your health and job satisfaction.
Taking a walk for 20 minutes in the air really clears your head and just provides some downtime so you return to what you were doing re-charged. I believe that one of the times that this can work best is when you come out of a meeting or off a zoom meeting and your head is bursting with ideas, things to do and people to connect with. Just walking away instead of going back immediately to your computer allows your brain to download and to clear and then 10-15 minutes later you can return recharged, and more effective.
Doing something mindfully like eating lunch by focusing on that alone aids digestion and can mean you don’t eat as much. Giving time to an individual and really listening is also a very rewarding thing to do.
4. Taking short, frequent breaks is preferable to one long break.
How could that work for you? Why not give it a try over a period of weeks experimenting and see what serves you best. Perhaps not that easy at present with all the not knowing that is going on but remember this one for the future and of course short breaks can be in the UK as many of us discovered this year and even a day can bring so much benefit.
All the above are easy to integrate into your everyday life, they are small steps that can lead to many benefits. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. Are you good at taking breaks? Is this something you now do and are reaping the benefits? What kinds of breaks work best for you?
I find that walking is one of the best de-stressors there is. Walk Your Way is the ideal programme for you. It is a short 30-day programme delivered to your inbox that helps you use short pockets of time that you can pepper your day with to provide headspace, help you recharge and put you in the best place to be productive.
It’s back on November 1st delivered to your inbox and you can do it from anywhere in the world.