When you work a desk job and get a much-needed break from the grind, it’s tempting to just stay in your seat and scroll through social media or pull up a 15-minute YouTube video. It’s essential to take a break when your brain starts to get bogged down by stress and fatigue. Studies have shown that taking micro-breaks at work helps to boost productivity and gives your brain a reboot on long working days.
It’s easy to fall into the rut of just sitting in your chair and staring at a screen on your work breaks, but there might be a better and more productive use of your time. Here are some ways to spend your break productively and make the most of your time even when you’re not working.
Getting an hour’s worth of exercise even when you’re at the office has been proven to be an effective means of staying productive and fit. Chances are, your workplace already has a gym. Take advantage of its benefits and spend at least 30 minutes to an hour working out whenever you catch a break. Workers who work out every day or nearly every day see a boost in productivity and mental health. It gives you a chance to leave your desk for a moment, and if you’re ever stuck on an idea, you can get out and maybe find inspiration while you’re working out.
It’s healthy, it’s effective, and you’ll be setting an example for all your co-workers. Instead of just sitting there on your phone, try bringing your exercise gear to work and hitting the gym.
Get a Massage
Alternatively, if you’d rather spend your breaks relaxing and relieving all the tension from work, a massage break could be in order. If you can’t leave the office or the nearest spa is too far, you can suggest to your boss or higher-ups that they buy an electric massage recliner for the recreation room. Or if one’s already available to you, then take advantage of it. It’s one way to relieve all those tense muscles from hunching over your desk all day, plus you might be able to catch up on a few winks of sleep while you’re at it. Honestly, who would ever say no to a massage?
Take a Walk
Sometimes all you might need is a breath of fresh air and some time to yourself. If you work near a park or a place with a great outdoor environment, taking a walk through nature could help to clear your head and come up with new ideas. A 20 to 30-minute walk around the block, maybe with your headphones on listening to some music or a podcast, can improve your mood a lot. It’s also an excellent way to exercise and stretch your legs without busting out all your exercise gear or sweating too much. Just make sure to wear the right shoes for it.
Chat With Your Friends and Co-workers
If you like spending your break by the office water cooler or coffee machine, having a chat with your co-workers, then congratulations! But if you try to find the push to get yourself out there and strike a conversation with your office mates, here it is.
There are more benefits to chatting with your co-workers than just getting to know them and making friends. It helps to build connections in your workplace and not just with your boss or people who could give you a promotion. It can help the workplace feel inclusive and collaborative, plus who would understand your daily plights better than your co-workers who go through the same thing?
Most workers take a lunch break, but taking a few snack breaks here and there can be just as effective. Eating good food while or between working can help boost your mood, especially if it’s the food you like or sugary food such as chocolate and candy. Sneaking a few bites of food while you’re working can also help to keep your mind from getting stressed out and exhausted. You can even use food as an incentive by allowing yourself to take a bite or have just one more piece of chocolate after you’ve written one more paragraph or e-mail. It works on dogs, and it can work on you, too!
Another way you can spend your break productively is by doing errands around the office or the block. Need to run down to the bank? Pick up your laundry from the cleaners? Maybe get some grocery shopping done? Leaving the office to do errands, or even just doing errands around the building, can help your brain recharge and get yourself moving. It works the same as taking a walk or exercising. The more time you spend out of your chair and moving around, the better.
If there’s one takeaway in this entire list to keep in mind, it’s that staying stationary and idle is your worst enemy. You already spend your entire day slouching in front of a screen. You don’t want your breaks to fall into the same monotonous pattern, especially if you need some exercise yourself. Get up, get moving, and do something fun or productive with your break. It’ll show in your work later.