3 Science proven Ways to Take Breaks at Work
Have you been at least once in a situation where you have eaten your lunch break at your desk?
We all get so focused in our work lives that often forget that we are humans and we need to do normal activities in order to take care of our bodies, live healthily and spend time for ourselves.
So my question in this post is – do you take proper breaks at work? How long does your usually break take?
Here are 3 proven by science ways to take breaks and feel more relaxed at work:
Distract and Recharge
Studies have shown that intense focus on work makes us less focused in the long run. According to the University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras – our brains naturally stop registering sights, sounds, and feelings if they remain consistent for a period of time with how they react to thoughts that remain consistent for long periods of time. “If sustained attention to a sensation makes that sensation vanish from our awareness, sustained attention to a thought should also lead to that thought’s disappearance from our mind,” Lleras explains.
So instead of constantly thinking about a single problem’s solution, you can create distractions that will take away your attention from the task, so after you can come back with a fresh mind.
Regarding that try out this method by watching cute puppy videos, play Scrabble, talk to a friend – but don’t take too long – after all you are still at work!
Relax your Eyes
Most of us spend around 6-9 hours a day on a digital device so it is not surprising that our eyes take the burden of much of our tech-fueled lives. Fortunately, there is a simple exercise that will help you take a vision break and reduce your eye fatigue called: 20-20-20. Every 20 minutes look away from your computer screen and focus on an item at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Easy as 1-2-3.
Besides taking breaks to protect your eyes, there are other simple ways to protect your vision throughout the day:
- Dim your lights: Your computer screen should be the brightest thing in the room.
- Reduce glare: Try an anti-glare screen cover, clean your screen regularly, and make sure you’re not too close to a window.
- Make your workspace more eye-friendly: appropriate ergonomics help diminish weakness in your entire body but your eyes especially.
Let Your Mind Wander
There are a couple of various methods of meditation that show positive results – everything from reducing anxiety and stress to increase the ability to focus. If a zen routine isn’t your style, there is another way.
A report published in Science magazine found that simply taking some time to let your mind wander can help you come up with more ideas, clever thoughts and uncover hidden answers when you’re back at work. The best part is that you might not even need to do anything. When we stop paying attention to anything, our brain’s Default Mode Network takes over which gives our mind a well-deserved rest.
NYU psychology professor Scott Barry Kaufman found that daydreaming is an incredible way to access our unconscious and allow ideas that have been silently incubating to bubble up into our conscious. Meaning that while you believe that you’re doing nothing, you’re actually mining profundities of your mind for more creative solutions to the problems you’re confronting.
When done correctly, breaks can actually be the ultimate productivity hack, because they help us relax and allow us to do more in less time. Contrary of the popular believes in our culture of doing, where breaks are considered to be unproductive.
To reduce long working hours and burnout, simply take a break. We know we all deserve it.