This guest post is written by Rachel Sanders, CEO and co-founder of Patch, a company that provides mobile physical therapy services.
Taking breaks during the workday isn’t as easy as it sounds. How many of you have been sitting for more than an hour as you read this? (*Raises hand.*) Many days it can feel like you are getting pulled in 1000 different directions from the time that you get to your desk to the second you step out the door.
Even though taking a break can seem like the last thing you should be doing, breaks can actually help you get more done throughout the day—and feel better while you’re at it.
The next time you are working on a big project, dealing with work stress, or even trying to manage a nagging injury, think about taking multiple short breaks throughout the day.
Here are four ways taking that break will benefit you in a big way.
1. Breaks can increase your focus.
Breaks, even short ones, give us the chance to pause, evaluate, set goals and restart a given task, allowing us to mentally re-focus and prioritizes. Studies show that even short breaks can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on a specific task for an extended period of time.
2. Breaks can boost your creativity.
Are you struggling to solve a challenge at work? Or trying to come up with a creative new strategy to suggest at your next meeting? Often, taking a mental break, especially a walk outdoors, lets your mind reset. Psychologists suggest that “strategic breaks can refresh your brain and help you see a situation in a new way,” allowing you to think about more creative solutions and find new perspectives.
3. Breaks can decrease stress.
Small breaks throughout the day have been proven to be an effective way to reduce stress. Taking a minute to breathe or practice a quick meditation can help us mentally de-stress, increasing productivity throughout the day.
Decreasing stress can help you heal from injuries or nagging pain as well. “When people are stressed, they seem to not heal as well and feel more pain and stiffness,” says Ryan Waldman, a physical therapist with Patch. So if your back is always aching, your muscles may not be at the root cause after all; take breaks and other steps to reduce stress in your life, and you may find you’ll start to feel better right away, Waldman says.
Also important: Make sure you’re sitting properly! Here’s the right way to set up your desk, according to an ergonomics expert.
4. Breaks help you avoid & manage pain.
Taking timed breaks to stand and stretch throughout the day is really important for everyone,” says Dr. Salman Hirani, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder of Patch. For individuals dealing with pain or recovering from injury, these breaks are even more important because movement is often a key part to healing. For every 20 minutes of sitting you should get up for 10 minutes, and a few of those minutes should be getting up to walk around, Hirani suggests.
Here are some more helpful ways to schedule more short breaks into your day:
• Set a calendar reminder for every hour. No matter what you are doing, take at least 30 seconds to stand up, move around, shut your eyes, take some deep breaths, or anything else that allows to you step back
• Schedule a midday workout. Whether that is a walk around the office park or a onsite yoga class with Fitspot, this can make a major improvement in your stress, focus, and pain management.
• Track your water intake. If you are constantly drinking water, that means you will need to refill, giving you a chance to get up, move around, and take a moment for yourself.
Want to bring on-site workouts to your office to help your coworkers take breaks? Request a demo with one of our sales reps!