Ahh…Breaks, the one guilty pleasure some will never take advantage of…
Make sure to listen when I say this: TAKE A BREAK! Trust me, everyone needs one. I am one of those people that
thought, “I don’t need a break, I will just keep pushing through. Breaks are for the weak.” I WAS WRONG!
I NEEDED A BREAK!
Yes, I needed one and so does everyone else. After working in my pizza shop for over two years and never taking a break, I should have taken one months ago. But instead I chose to dive right into working at another restaurant and let me just say by the end of the summer, I was miserable, unmotivated, and burned out.
It was time to take a timeout.
After working three doubles on Labor Day Weekend, Mike finally convinced me it was time to take a small vacation. My initial reaction was No! I’m fine. Taking a break makes me feel guilty, as if I should be stronger than this. Little did I know that this very small trip would open my eyes up to finding out, I wasn’t fine at all. I needed a break from tasks, people and my reality.
So we packed up the truck and drove to the mountains.
Even though we were only there for two days, it was refreshing to escape for a short time. No phone, no internet, no electricity, just the mountains and the animals (which is a whole other story I won’t get into right now!) I took many naps, walked in the woods, and sat by the fire.
By the time the two days was over I felt like a new person.
On the drive home, it all became so clear. These past few months when I was thinking that I had accomplished so much, I really had been working on the same thing over and over again. Tasks were taking me almost a month to complete that normally should take me two days. Projects were getting pushed off because I was unmotivated to finish or even start them. I was always busy but I wasn’t really getting anything done.
Studies show taking breaks can actually help productivity, not kill it.
Upon arriving home I was obsessed with this new concept that I had been opposed to. Mike had been trying to get through to me for so long. I had to know more. What did the experts have to say? Turns out there is science backing up how I was feeling and what Mike was telling me.
Here are my 5 reasons why taking breaks can help your overall health:
Taking at least a 20 minute break from your task can help to refocus and get more accomplished.
Take twenty minutes, go drink a cup of coffee or tea OR WATER then come back will not only give you a boost but you will become refreshed and may see things you might have missed before.
Breaking large tasks down will reflect in less stress
A large task can be broken down with breaks in between. Writing a paper? Write the introduction, go fold laundry, come back write another section, have a snack. Now it’s not such a large task that’s overwhelming and you could reduce your stress level. An excess of stress hormones for an extended time can put stress on your blood pressure and health. By reducing stress, the body and mind can remain in a calm state. Which will help to keep the heart and mind healthy, focused, productive and efficient
Breaking once an hour can help productivity increase
Studies have shown that participants that were given two short breaks within two hours of a task remained more focused and finished the task faster than opposing participants that did not receive a break and took much longer to finish.
A break can help to make the mind more creative
Ever walk away from something only to come back and realize you have no idea what you were thinking the first time you sat down to do the task? Taking a break causes you to think of something else and get a clean fresh start when coming back to the task which can lead to a new perspective and possibly a solution that might have been in front of you the whole time
Working out or doing a physical task will result in the mind not becoming stagnant
Having a good workout or even 30 minutes of physical activity can reduce stress hormones, gets the blood moving and helps to create a sharp, clearer mindset. Jumping jacks are my go to for a quick pick me up.
I hope that in reading this, you too can also learn the joys of taking a break. I will be keeping this lesson in mind and reminding myself frequently. I’ve learned things can wait, they will be there when I get back. Your health and wellness is far too important to sacrifice. Take a break, go get some fresh air, LIVE A LITTLE! Have some fun! Then when you get back to work you might find what I found… You might get more accomplished faster than if you had not have taken that break.
“There is a virtue in work and there is a virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.”-Alan Cohen