let’s take a break
You may have noticed that we’ve recently re-branded, and honestly launching a new brand is hard. Like trying to herd cats hard. Like motivating yourself to work out in the Texas heat hard. Like convincing your little one to eat healthy hard. OK, we’re done, but you get the point, right? It can be so easy to fall into a pattern of chaining yourself to your desk and never taking a break, believing it will make you more productive when all it does is burn you out. You don’t need to be launching a brand to get into this habit. It happens all the time at workplaces across every city, state, and country in the world. So, what exactly can be done about it?
Research shows that taking short mental breaks throughout the day can increase productivity, decrease workplace stress, boost creativity, and overall give you a better outlook for the day. Knowing that you have a scheduled break in your day can help you increase your motivation to work through projects efficiently and effectively, while giving your brain space to think of out of the box ideas. The hardest part about taking a mental break is actually giving yourself the space to take one and figuring out what to do once you’ve committed to taking the break.
There are several great activities that could fill that time like taking a walk, journaling, or reading your favorite new blog (hint hint). But when we set out to write this blog we didn’t just want to tell you about how great breaks are for your mental wellness and list out a bunch of untested ideas, we wanted to prove it by practicing what we preach. To break out of this work-until-we-drop habit, we challenged our marketing team to attempt five-minute breaks throughout the day (a Herculean task when you are in the weeds) and let us know how they utilized those breaks.
Here’s how our team chose to spend their time:
1. Make a Call
Instead of just using your phone for Google or social media, take a minute to call and check in with a family member or friend. It’s comforting to hear from a friendly voice, and you will feel better taking a minute to focus on your personal life versus work.
For my wellness breaks, I call my mom and talk to her for about 10 minutes. She gives me the best pep talks, which help me get through the rest of the day.
2. Car Concert
Step away from the office and have a private concert in your car. You can crank the music loud or listen to soothing meditation sounds without bothering a coworker or being interrupted. Music that we love can help bring back great memories and energize you to get through the rest of your day.
“I went to my car and listened to a bit of music to clear my head and regroup. Music always helps me escape for a bit depending on my mood!” – Diana T.
3. Walk It Out
Getting up from your desk for a brisk walk can increase your blood flow and generate ideas. If possible, take your walk outside to get the benefits of a little exercise and Vitamin D from sunshine at the same time.
“I mostly take a break by getting up and walking around for a few minutes.” – Sofia C.
4. There Should Always Be Snacks
Don’t underestimate the power of a simple snack break. Having a snack in the breakroom not only gets you up and away from your desk for a little while, it also has the added benefit of an energy boost.
We are total foodies around here and knowing that there is a tasty and healthy snack waiting for me when I start to lose energy around 3 p.m. helps me stay motivated through the end of the day. I like to bring yogurt or dried apple chips as a little afternoon pick-me-up to go with my third (or fifth) cup of coffee.
5. Physical Wellness = Mental Wellness
Daily acts of self-care can go a long way in improving your outlook for the day and give you a sense of being in the driver’s seat of your health and mind. Practicing self-care can be as simple as taking a multivitamin or spending a little time stretching your neck and shoulders. Find what makes you feel good and try to incorporate that into your daily routine.
“I like to take my five-minute break to take my very CLEAN supplements! This includes protein, multivitamins, probiotic, fish oil … there’s a HUGE list that seems to go on forever. I also use this time to track the water and foods I’ve had throughout the day. After that I get to decide what my dinner and workout(s) need to look like later, which excites me. This is the time I take to myself because my overall wellness is extremely important to me. If I’m imbalanced, things start to go downhill from there because it will have a strong effect on my mood, confidence and, most importantly, my creativity.” —Perla R.
If we’re being totally honest we didn’t always find a way to make these breaks happen, but on the days that we did we found our stress levels went down, our creativity increased, and our workplace happiness was improved. Sometimes it takes forcing yourself to take a break to realize the benefits you are missing out on, and no one is going to think less of you because you went for a five-minute walk or wrote in your daily journal. We hope that our challenge inspires you to try something similar at your office, home office, or coworking space.