134 days ago
Take a break. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But we all know the reality of days that seem to whizz by without one.
As we enter our seventh week in lockdown, many of the good habits we put into place at the start may begin to slip. With government announcements now starting to focus on a return to some workplaces, and employees thinking about a new set of challenges, it’s vitally important that we all take breaks where possible to protect our physical and mental wellbeing.
There’s heaps of research into how taking a break benefits our bodies and minds. Anything from five minutes away from the computer to a 30-minute high intensity workout can have incredible results.
For example, the Pomodoro Technique, a research-backed time management method which sees people working in 25 minute intervals and taking short breaks, has proven to increase productivity by switching on the brain’s incentive for reward.
Find your break rhythm
Us humans have a lot going on right now. There might be kids to look after, relatives and/or pets to care for, errands to run, and a little thing called work to factor into our day. Not to mention that Netflix won’t watch itself.
It’s important to find a series of breaks that work for you. That might mean experimenting with break lengths, frequency and the things you do with the time. As a minimum, you should try to take a break for five minutes every hour, or a longer break at the end of 90 minutes' focussed work.
Check out Matt Dawson’s tips on taking a break here, and try a few suggestions out. A water bottle is recommended if you attempt the high-speed lunges…
Take inspiration from colleagues
If you’re stuck for ideas of how to make the most of your breaks in the day or want to try something new, take a look at some ideas below, compiled from teams around Sodexo UK & Ireland:
Go for a walk – even a short walk to the end of your street / round the block and back is enough to get your body moving.
Weed the garden – if you’re the sort of person who likes to feel productive even during breaks, this one’s for you!
Journal – it doesn’t matter what you’re journaling, writing can help to clear up mental clutter and release tension.
Meal plan for the following day – another one for the productivity lovers, having a plan for the next day can help you feel more in control.
Read one chapter of a good book – not only can you immerse yourself in another world for a moment, you’ll be more likely to get it finished!
Be a human bouncy castle for your toddler/s – parents, we see you. Taking dedicated time (even short periods) to connect with the kids can benefit you all. And it’s almost like a relaxing massage…
As Matt says, breaks can reduce stress and lead to a shorter recovery period at the end of the day. Having the discipline to take breaks, truly switching off during them and doing something you enjoy can make a huge difference.
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