When you’re knee-deep in a task-list, you tend to want to get things done – if not for yourself then to avoid pressure from your boss. Plus, taking breaks at work is a waste of time, right?
If you think you should be 100% focused through the day, then you’re wrong. Taking mental breaks during your shift is important for getting through the day. A short break gives your brain a boost and grants you the resources you need to leave work feeling better.
You might think, “Hey, I’ve got a lot on my plate. I don’t have time for a nap or meditation.” The good news is that your brain is a resilient thing: you can take breaks as short as two minutes to start to recover.
Here are a few quick ways to take a mental break at work and reap the benefits.
Take a Two Minute Break
Do you start to feel drained throughout the day but have trouble tearing yourself away? Try out the site dothingfor2minutes.com created by Calm.
The site tracks your mouse and keyboard and uses a clock to countdown from two minutes. Your only job is to look at the gorgeous picture of the ocean and see if you can’t hear the waves crashing against the shore.
Give Yourself 90 Seconds
Did you now you can start to manage a strong emotional response in only 90 seconds?
When you encounter something stressful or find yourself feeling anxious or even angry, you can prevent it from taking over with a 90-second break.
The automatic chemical process that causes physiological stress starts immediately, but if you step away and stop the trigger, it will subside as quickly as it came on.
Once you start spiraling, start focusing on your breathing and find a point of focus, ideally a square shape. Keep breathing and follow each side of the square with your eyes, working clockwise. As you work your way around the square, you will improve your oxygen flow begin to relax. Keep going for a minute and a half and you’ll start to reset.
Talk to Someone About How You Feel
If something more existential causes your stress, such as a lack of control or fear of being laid off, don’t bottle it up. Take the time to talk to someone at work about what you’re worried about and what you can do to feel better.
For example, you can talk to your colleagues about your feelings. There’s a good chance they can relate or commiserate, and sometimes knowing you’re not alone can relieve some anxiety. If there’s something structural involved, you can bring it up to your boss or even HR.
Everyone Benefits from Taking Breaks
Today’s society pushes everyone to be as productive as possible. Yet, the human brain doesn’t work that way. Whether it’s from a tough task or stress triggers, your brain needs regular, short breaks. A few minutes away is enough to help you start to recover.
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