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  • Lagniappe Counseling

Gimme a Break

Developing a “rest ethic” can make you more productive.

When working from home, re-entering the office space or when you feel that you have too much to do, it is easy to convince yourself that you do not have the time to take breaks.

However, research has shown that taking a break can be very beneficial for your health and productivity. Whether a micro-break, lunch breaks and something longer, all been shown to have a positive relationship with wellbeing and productivity. By taking regular breaks you can boost your performance.

While taking short breaks throughout your work day may not have as obvious an impact as taking an actual vacation, research has found significant benefits. Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help to maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day. A study by Korpela, Kinnunen, Geurts, de Bloom and Sianoja (2016) found that taking a lunch break and truly detaching from work, increases levels of energy at work and decreases exhaustion. Furthermore, one year later it was found to increase vigor and increase energy levels over time.

Social breaks and relaxations have been found to be particularly beneficial. A relaxing break can help to facilitate recovery, by returning your mental and psychical functional systems to their baseline. Additionally, a break to relax can help to reset your mood, thus promoting positive wellbeing and reducing stress. Social breaks, like chatting with your peers, have also been found to be beneficial. Social interactions allow you to share your experiences as well as feel part of a group. This feeling of relatedness, during a social break shows a positive association with feeling recovered after the break.

Much like rest days with working out, taking breaks has been shown to be important in recovering from stress, which can, in turn, improve your performance. Recovering from work stress can restore energy and mental resources and decrease the development of fatigue, sleep disorders and cardiovascular disease. Additional research found it is important to take micro-breaks throughout the working day. A micro-break requires just a few minutes away from your work, whether chatting with a co-worker or getting up to get a drink of water. Micro-breaks help to support your wellbeing and increase productivity.

Tips for Ensuring you Take Breaks

When you get frustrated because something isn't going as planned or when you are mindlessly lost in your work, you will often neglect breaks.Here are some tips to prompt you to regularly step away and rebuild your energy:

  • Schedule break times on your calendar and stick to them!

  • Set an alarm on your phone to prompt you.

  • Plan to do something in your break that you enjoy, this will motivate you to keep to the break.

  • Pay attention to any benefits you experience when you take a break.

  • Use post-it notes to remind you

Remember if keep pouring from an empty cup, you will burn yourself out: so, give yourself a break! If you need a little more help in separating work from the rest of your life or feel like you are chasing the ever elusive "work/life balance", drop me a line today!

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