You’ve been running from meeting to meeting and one challenge after another keeps popping up. You feel stressed and frazzled and like you just need to take a moment for goodness sake, but your to-do list is only growing. How could you possibly dare take a few minutes for yourself with so much going on?
The granola bar you chowed for breakfast wore off long ago and you realize you are feeling lightheaded, so you decide to take advantage of thirty minutes free in your calendar. Jetting out of the office, the brightness hits you and you blink as your eyes adjust from the fluorescent lighting to the sun. Jumping in your car, you zoom to your favorite spot to grab a sandwich. After devouring your very late lunch, you walk to your car, and it dawns on you that it is a beautiful day. Feeling a bit refreshed, you take your time driving back to the office - windows down, breathing in the fresh air. “I needed that,” you think to yourself, as you walk back to your desk, sitting down with a sense of calm resolve to tackle your next task.
While it may seem counterintuitive, taking breaks from work is a necessity. In fact, your productivity, creativity, and mental well-being depend on it. Though many office cultures reward long hours, working through lunch and not taking breaks, at ColdSnap®, we are break time champions. Here we will show you why you’ll want to make sure to include breaks in your workday.
Breaks Boost Productivity
In order to do your best work, you’ll need to take some breaks during the day. As you perform goal-oriented work, the brain’s prefrontal cortex is activated. Just like muscles get tired when you are working out, the prefrontal cortex gets fatigued as well, especially since most of us are exposed to constant stimulation from technology. Taking a break from work gives your brain a rest and can even help you be more productive. Getting up from your desk for even five minutes can help.
Employers can prioritize perks that help employees unwind both on and off the clock. This supports their team’s wellness, and can also increase productivity.
In addition to improving productivity, taking breaks can also enhance an essential workplace skill: creativity. Think about a time when you’ve had a problem to solve. Where did some of the best ideas come from? Though we may try, we can’t overthink or obsess our way into “aha moments.” More often than not, great insights occur in the shower, on a walk, or even vegging on the couch. Why attempt to grind through a project when taking a mental pause may be what you really need? Consciously scheduling breaks can help them become part of your regular routine.
Don’t be afraid of a little open space in your day. Every second does not need to be filled with activity, and if it is, you are likely decreasing your capacity for creative work. If your job requires solving complex problems, you can’t afford not to take breaks.
Support your Mental Health
Last and most importantly on our list of the benefits of taking breaks: mental well being. Constant stress and pressure are a recipe for burnout, job dissatisfaction and mental health problems. As much as we would, at times, like to think of ourselves as machines, we are human beings. We all have limitations and living in balance is essential to our mental health. While many of us know this in theory, how many of us do a *system override* and push through anyway? There are times where you just need to “get ‘er done,” but if you’re constantly pushing through your body’s signals to take a break and consistently feel stressed, it may be time to consider inserting periods of rest in your day.
At ColdSnap, we are creating something that hasn’t been done before. We run into roadblocks that need creative problem solving and teamwork. Taking breaks helps us to refresh our mindset so we can come back to our challenges with a new perspective. Making time for brief periods of rest also helps us enjoy our work and add value to our teams day after day.
Though it may be a challenge at first if you’re accustomed to overscheduling, you can take action to bolster your well being by integrating breaks into your workday rhythm.
Now that we’ve highlighted the importance of taking breaks for productivity, creativity and mental health, what are some of your favorite ways to take breaks?