One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned in having my own business and my past years in corporate, is how crucial it is to take breaks throughout the work day. I will say that I understand it’s easier said than done. It took me YEARS until I even allowed myself to THINK about taking breaks, let alone actually following through. What is the reason for this, though? Now that it’s something I do daily, I really can’t come to understand why I waited so long, and felt guilty for doing so. Such a strange emotion to have for doing the things I need to do in order to be the best employee or the best version of myself.
My friends and I talk about this often, all of whom are in different careers than me, and everyone says the same thing. The guilt creeps up and they’re afraid of either A) being scolded by their superior(s), or b) being judged and looked at as lazy.
I can’t stand that. It bums me out so bad.
Taking breaks is not only crucial to our mental health, but our physical health as well. Have you ever sat in the same position for hours on end? Have you ever forgotten to each lunch? Have you ever thought your eyes were going to burn through your skull from staring at your computer screen for too long? Nothing about this is glamorous, nor is it healthy. So, my friend, if your superior confronts you about taking a break, simply tell her or him one of the following things:
- I’ve accounted for this time in my schedule. What needs to be done will be done before the end of the day.
- In order to service them and the company to your best ability, you need some fuel to re-energize.
- You work better in increments.
- I quit. (haha just kidding. But I’m NOT kidding if you’re being bullied about this! You should definitely consider a different work environment and one that supports your well being)
Below are my 4 tips for taking a break throughout your work day, that I swear won’t bring on the feelings of guilt (though you shouldn’t have them anyway!)
SIMPLE WAYS TO TAKE A BREAK
- Set a timer. This is a really easy way to ease your mind and body into the habit of working in increments (a really, really productive headspace to be in when you have a busy work schedule) For instance, if I’m having a writing day or an editing day, I can get LOST in this process for hours on end. I’ve been known to start around 8am, and not stop until about 1am. It’s terrible! When you set a timer, it’s a place holder to tell you that it’s time to rest your eyes, move around, get a snack, and do something other than what you’ve been doing for the last 2 hours.
- Increment suggestions: Set a timer for every 2 hours. When it goes off, set another timer for 20-30 minutes (whatever you can allow yourself depending on your job), and get back to work. Do this throughout your entire work day. (therefore you should be taking about 4 breaks)
- Take a nap. Okay, I know not everyone can do this. But hear me out. If you can, rest your eyes for even just 10 minutes. Clearing your mind of anything and everything is so essential to starting fresh. For me, napping is a lot of times where I wake up with my best ideas. If you’re in a corporate setting and naps aren’t an option (some companies have nap rooms and pods for their employees — as they should), simply zen out at your desk by listening to classical or piano music (or whatever soothes you), close all technology, and just be.
- Get outside. During your breaks, if you can leave your desk or even your office building, do that. Get out of your work environment to gain fresh perspective and to get some fresh air. There really is nothing better, and much like the old saying, “I regretted that work out, said no one ever” – the same applies to getting outside. (unless you get rained on) If the weather is bad (rain, snow, etc), at least stand under some covering to breathe it in. I promise you’ll feel rejuvenated.
- Journal. I find this to be SO helpful, even when I’m writing for the blog. Taking some time to check in with myself throughout a busy work day is a really lovely way to see how I’m doing, what I might need from myself, where my mood is at, etc. You can bullet journal, free write, draw, whatever your preference may be. Just make the time to break loose from your usual to-do list and show yourself some love.
Do you have any tips to share for taking breaks throughout your work day? Share below and feel free to PIN this graphic for future reference. xx