Taking adequate breaks gives your body and mind time to recharge before attempting your next task. This can help you increase mental wellbeing, reduce stress, maintain focus, and boost productivity.
Various agencies such as The HSE suggest a minimum of five to 10 minutes each hour. The HSE is the Health and Safety Executive, a UK government agency responsible for the regulation and enforcement of workplace health.
Let’s look at five techniques you can use to take quality breaks in a short space of time.
1. Calendar blocking
Use calendar blocking to schedule your breaks. Schedule a set time to take breaks the way you would schedule appointments and meetings. Doing this also prevents your colleagues from scheduling meetings at the times you are unavailable, e.g. during your lunchtime.
2. Apps and alerts
Use apps and timers that alert you to take a break. There are numerous apps available online and some are free. Use alerts to activate at intervals as a reminder to take breaks and stretch which can prevent pain or swollen joints. Extreme yoga poses are not necessary. Simple and discreet stretches will do the trick.
3. Deep breathing
Breathe slowly and deeply to get more oxygen into the body. Your breathing naturally becomes more shallow when you are under stress or focusing. Taking sufficient breaks to breathe deeply for a couple of minutes can recharge your mind and make you feel calmer.
4. The 20-20-20 rule
The 20-20-20 rule was popularised by Dr. Jeffrey Anshel, a specialist in vision ergonomics. He stated that for every 20 minutes looking at the computer, take a 20-second break, and focus on something at least 20 feet away. This practice helps the muscles in the eyes to relax and can prevent headaches due to eyestrain.
5. Get hydrated
Take micro-breaks to drink enough water to be properly hydrated. Lack of proper hydration can create serious stress for your mind and body. Keep hydrated to prevent headaches, fatigue, and mixed signals of hunger.
Remember, you take your body and mind with you wherever you go. Take care of them and they will take care of you.
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