September 11, 2018 | By Terry Cornick
“Switching off” is not binary for everyone in a workplace situation.
Some of us work in a typical structured environment, a regimented 9-5 and get our allotted lunch breaks.
Some of us work remotely or freelance and can choose their downtime to an extent.
Some of us do not know when work starts or stops.
Increasingly, our globally connected world means particularly in the corporate sector, we are reachable and reactionary almost 24/7. When was the last time you actually turned your phone off or even emails off when you got home?
The benefits of taking a quick break are clear and huge:
When we are fielding multiple requests, tasks and projects, the importance of these can become blurred. Taking a true break can help you become less robotic and reactive, and more thoughtful.
Dispersing the noise of the workday can help you mentally sift through what is truly important that you need to achieve that day. So when you head back to your desk, you can laser in on that goal.
Most importantly in my opinion, taking a break to breathe (sounds obvious right?) and hear and feel something that is not work, is vital. We are not effective in a constant state of alert. Anxiety about workloads can cause your heartbeat to increase and your chest to tighten, and this is detrimental to your progress and focus.
Your eyes are subjected to screens for hours on end and they feel the strain as much as your brain. Add to that the pressure on your neck, back and general posture and you can see why a break can help you refresh.
Social connection with others we work with and around us can life your head and heart. Talking to another human in the kitchen or anywhere away from your work station (about anything but work) will lift your mood when you return.
So grabbing those micro-breaks across the day are vital. Whether it is leaving your desk and sitting outside without your phone, laptop, earphones and distractions or just a walk around the block or through a local park. We can all benefit from even a 5-minute break.