During the workday, it’s very easy to sit at your desk, eat lunch at your desk, and all of a sudden 8 hours have flown by and we haven’t moved. Due to the climate of what is happening in the world right now, we are not only just working our normal 8 hour days but we are also isolated at home. We have families that need things from us, kids pulling on our arm for attention, and our work email going off, but sometimes we just need a break.
Nothing runs forever without turning it off every once and a while. Most of us don’t have the luxury of taking a spa day to kick back and relax, but there is something we can do to take a break from work, family life, and just the internal struggle of living life day today. Without that break in the day, we will get worn out and the quality of work in our professional and personal life is not going to be our best.
When we take a break, we’re not shirking responsibility; we’re taking care of ourselves so we’ll have the stamina to be our best. Here’s why it’s important to take a break.
Taking a break helps you make better decisions throughout the workday. Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. Decision fatigue can cause decision avoidance and riskier decision making. (source)
Our memory isn’t supposed to capture everything in our day and if we overwork ourselves it becomes harder for us to retain information. Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative. (source)
A lot of us working feel like once we sit down in our work chair and get in the zone, we accomplish more work. We will power through projects to get them done, but the harm is when you work for too long without taking a break, you might lose track of what you’re actually trying to do. Taking small breaks throughout the day allows your brain to take mini resets, helping you to achieve your goals. (source)
So, you might wonder how? I know I should take a break, but what does an effective break look like? The answer is that it highly depends on the type of work you need to do. I’ve found that taking a quick 5-15 minute break every hour 2-4 hours helps my brain reset. This could be walking to the kitchen for a glass of water, going outside for some fresh air, or doing some gentle stretching or movement. No matter what I do, it allows my eyes to relax from looking at the screen. It also gives me a moment to breathe and let go of that moment’s critical issue I need to address and allow myself to be back into my present body. When I sit back down, I am more focused and productive, inspired with solutions that previously evaded me. So take a break. You’ll thank me for it!