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Make the Most Out of Your Break at Work

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Screenshot 2024 06 03 at 12.09.58 itv0gx

Taking breaks is essential for maintaining our mental and physical health, but how we take them plays a massive role, too. Long-term, productivity and creativity will suffer under it, not to mention your own integrity. Recent findings indicate that a staggering 82% of UK workers do not take their full legal mandated breaks, often citing workload pressures as the main reason. Two-thirds are eating lunch at their desk, so it’s no real surprise to anyone that most people asked also cited they experienced burnout and don’t feel like they have a good work-life balance.

If you are one of us struggling with finding practical ways to maximise and utilise your break times effectively – here’s what you can do.

Structure your breaks

Choosing the right moment and type of break can profoundly impact your workday. Research suggests that taking short and frequent breaks – ideally five minutes every hour (maybe even in combination with the pomodoro technique?) – can significantly enhance cognitive performance and sustain concentration levels throughout the day. It comes down, as always, to quality over quantity; even brief pauses can reset the mind and reduce fatigue. Take your time to figure out which constellation works best.

Nourish your body

Replenishing your body during breaks helps maintain your energy levels. High-protein snacks that are low in refined sugars are the best option – like nuts, yogurt, or fruit. Hydration is equally important; ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the hours. If fatigue kicks in, consider a gentle energiser such as a cup of matcha tea. It’s longer-lasting and smoother boost compared to coffee makes it an excellent hot beverage choice to rejuvenate.

Engage in mindful break activities

Incorporating mindfulness in your break can help reduce stress and improve your overall mental well-being. Simple activities like deep breathing exercises, a brief meditation session, or even just a quiet walk around the office can already help clear your mind. Another study has highlighted, that regular mindfulness practice can indeed reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and increase levels of attention and concentration.

Social interaction or solitude?

Finding the right balance between socialising and being by yourself can make your breaks more effective, too. Engaging with colleagues can strengthen relationships and enhance job satisfaction – but on the other hand, spending time alone can be equally beneficial, especially for those in creative roles. Solitude can spur creative thought and allow for fresh perspectives on complex problems.

Using your breaks is not just about stepping away from your desk, but also what you do to fill that time. Take a step back, feel for what your body’s need tell you – but most importantly: take the time. All of it. The entire break. It’s yours.

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