A mid-day break can make or break your entire day. Quite literally. If you don’t take one, you’ll feel drained for the rest of the day both physically and mentally. The right kind of break can set the mood for the right for a great evening with your friends and family.
But what about the work that’s piled up, you ask? Overworking without taking necessary breaks leads to job breakouts. It takes a toll on your productivity as well. At the time when you need to put your best foot forward, burnout can thwart your to-do list and your entire day. Work-from-home has disrupted the balance between our personal and professional lives. Taking out time for yourself in between your work schedule has become important now more than ever.
How can we manage work without feeling burnout? While you can’t choose the work hours, you can schedule your breaks and plan them. Planning and scheduling your breaks beforehand refreshes your mind for the day ahead. Here are some reasons and tips on clever ways to take a midday break at your workplace.
The scientific reasoning behind taking breaks
1. Breaks keep us from being bored and unfocused
You finally set your mind to the task you’ve been procrastinating or you have an important project at work. As soon as you get started, your mind bursts with ideas and interesting theories. You push yourself to do more and boom where did all the ideas go? They feel too real to be true, don’t they? A slight stretch out of your productivity zone, you feel zoned out, unfocused, and unmotivated.
Our mind isn’t extended to work for long hours with the immense focus these days. Our brains are always vigilant to the changes around our surroundings to look after our survival. We might have a problem focusing on one task for long intervals of time.
How do we fix this unfocused work pattern? Taking breaks or deactivating and activating yourself can rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. Short mental breaks can help you stay focused on your task at hand.
2. Breaks help retain information and make connections
Our brain has two modes – focused and diffused mode. The focused mode comes into play when we learn a new thing, reading, writing, etc. Whereas the diffused mode comes into play when you are in a more relaxed or daydreaming state. One might assume that it’s the focused mode that optimizes productivity, but diffused mode also plays an essential role.
Initially, it was considered that our diffused mode is dormant and therefore has no importance. However, studies show that our mind wanders in a diffused state. Even the toughest problems can be solved in the daydreaming zone. How you noticed when in the shower you get some great ideas and solutions to your problems.
3. They help us reevaluate our goals
Breaks help us step back and reanalyze our goals and our path ahead. If we perform a task continuously, we might get lost in the weeds and waver away from our actual goals. Breaks instead allow you to understand, process, and analyze your task at hand rather than getting lost and going off the tracks.
5 Ways to take a midday break
Breaks have scientific as well as mental reasoning as well. Let’s take a look at how we can utilize our breaks. Scheduling and planning your breaks can be helpful instead of taking impromptu breaks and scrolling through Instagram.
1. Eat something
Food solves even the toughest problems. An empty stomach can make you cranky, demotivated, and unfocused. Moreover, if you enjoy working through lunch, keep in mind the consequences you have to face. An efficient work schedule leads to success not working constantly without breaks.
Working and eating together can lower your energy levels. Instead, schedule your lunch break ahead of time. Get yourself some yummy meal. You can check out some easy meal prep ideas and schedule your eating schedule for the week. You need to eat something more than just junk and take aways.
2. Spot your happy place at work
Find a happy place at your work. After you have had your fill, go to the ladies’ room and venture out to find a spot for yourself. You will need this place to retreat on days when work gets hectic or you just want to unplug. Sit down in silence and calm yourself down. If you enjoy reading, get a book with you or practice meditation. You even bring along an adult coloring book and supplies. Some yoga stretches will also help release the tension in your body. Resist the urge to stare at your screen. You’ll be glad to take some time off your screens.
3. Take movements to break
Feeling stressed at work? Get up and go away from your desk. Take the stairs or walk around a bit, move your body. If your office does not have stairs take a quick walk around the neighborhood. Any activity that gets your heart pumping or gives you an adrenaline rush, do it. Then come back to your desk, you’ll notice a difference.
4. Eat an apple
Consider eating an apple instead of grabbing a cup of coffee. The perks of doing so you may ask? Many. Apples contain natural fructose sugar and energy boost much healthier than coffee. It also contains more calories and energy as compared to coffee. Cut some apples, add a dash of lemon juice to prevent browning.
5. Drink water to boost your energy
Water may not boost your energy but it sure will keep your body hydrated for the day ahead. Take a walk away from your desk, fill up your water bottle. Chuck down the bottle of water and let it hydrate you for the day ahead. Splash cool water on your face to awaken your lethargic self. You can also keep your hands under cold water for a few minutes to lower your body temperature down to wake you up. If you find yourself feeling extremely tired in the afternoon, check your water intake. Freshwater instead of soda will hydrate your body well. Still feeling lethargic, add some ice to your water.