Five Reasons Work Breaks Are Important

John Lubbock, author of The Use of Life said, “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

Did he perhaps know something we do not?

As workdays grow longer, and the lines between work and home life continue to blur, the need for midday “me time” seems to be ignored. Taking a lunch is sometimes unheard of, so why would anyone take breaks?

While some may frown upon the 15 or 20 minute break from work, many believe breaks are key to continued concentration, focus, brain function, energy, calmness and creativity—all of which are essential to a productive and happy work environment.

Five Reasons To Take a Break

  1. Your concentration breaks after 75 to 90 minutes.

Generally, it is believed your brain works best in 75 to 90 minute increments, so taking a break for 15 minutes can keep your brain retaining information better. Taking a break has also been proven to sustain concentration throughout the day.

  1. Food can help your brain function better.

Work breaks and lunch breaks where a snack is involved can actually maximize your productivity by refueling your body. Foods like fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, blueberries, and carrots are particularly effective in refueling your brain powerhouse.

  1. Breaks can help sustain energy levels.

Breaks help prevent energy crashes by allowing your brain and body to rest between the long eight, nine or ten-hour days. Stress, heavy concentration and decision-making actually deplete our psychological resources, much like physical overexertion can deplete our muscular functionality, so frequent periods of rest or break time can keep our brains in tip-top shape.

  1. Meditation has health benefits.

Taking a break to mindfully breathe in meditation-like exercises can reduce stress, positively impact blood pressure, and help with sleep quality. It can also help reduce anxiety and emotional stress to help us think clearer.

  1. A change of scenery can help improve creativity.

Getting out of your office or cubicle and lending yourself to new sensory input renews focus and sparks creativity. Taking a moment to pay close attention to new sights, sounds, people, conversations, and atmospheres can give new perspective and initiate new ideas.

Ways to Take a Break

The goal of a break is to disengage in work thoughts, and that can be done in any manner that works for you. Generally, taking a moment to engage in an activity that is repetitive, redundant and/or relaxing is a great way to disconnect. For example:

  • Meditate
  • Talk to someone
  • Exercise
  • Take a cat nap
  • Go for a walk
  • Read the paper
  • Do a crossword puzzle
  • Knit

Could it be that breaking from work actually allows us to produce more work? Many experts suggest this is the case, because we are more focused, productive, effective. and emotionally stable when we take a break, producing a higher quality of work.

What do you think…are you more effective after a break? We’d love to know! Comment under this article or on our Facebook Page!

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