We often get to work, sit at our desks and do not move or take a break until a scheduled lunch. If you work from home, how often do you find yourself not only skipping breaks but eating at your desk? When doing chores around the house, you most likely do not stop until the task is complete. How often have you cleaned the house from top to bottom and not once stopped? If you are at school, how many hours in a row do you dedicate to studying before you come up for air?
If you examined your day from when you woke up to when you put your head on the pillow, how many personal breaks (micro-breaks) do you think you took? Not many and certainly not enough for better mental wellness.
Taking a micro-break can reduce mental exhaustion and help you to re-energize.
It is easy to rationalize that we have too much to do to take a break. However, research has found that taking micro-breaks has been shown to positively affect the outcome of the task and your well-being. Taking breaks can boost your mental and physical performance and help you finish tasks quicker and more efficiently. Taking micro-breaks can also significantly reduce your stress response and boost your mood. They can also help you stay energized throughout the day and reduce your exhaustion level so that you may have more energy in your tank by the end of the day.
Don’t Power Through Without Pause- Take a Micro-Break
A micro-break is when you step away from the task, work, chore etc., that you have been immersed in for a few minutes. A micro-break can help interrupt the monotony of physically or mentally draining tasks. They can last from a few seconds to several minutes and involve anything from making a cup of tea to stretching, stepping outside for some air, or watching a music video. Your micro-break may require asking someone to cover for you while you step away, so be mindful of time.
We understand the struggle of stepping away, but it was life-changing for me once I learned this habit. It took some discipline, so I set the alarm, and every hour when the alarm went off, I would get up from my desk, walk around, do a bit of stretching, refresh my tea, or play a song that made me happy. When I got back to my desk, I was not only able to pick up where I left off but had a bit more mental stamina to get through it and had some new ideas to consider. My micro-breaks are no more than 5-7 minutes, just enough to clear my head. I still take micro-breaks today but no longer need a reminder; my internal stress clock tends to prompt me every hour now.
Give it a try!
- Set the alarm on your phone to prompt you- work for 52 minutes, then micro break for 7 minutes
- Plan on doing something on your mini breaks that you enjoy- the anticipation of pleasure will motivate you to keep the routine.
- Use post-it notes or drawings in your workplace to remind you of the importance of taking that mini-break
- Work it out with a co-worker and encourage them to do the same (although at a different time)
- Save your longer breaks and lunches for a more focused purpose, eating, washroom breaks etc. and step away from your desk for lunch.
Since there’s no consensus on how long the ideal micro-break should last or how often you should have them, it’s up to you to experiment with what works best.
We would love to hear about your new micro-break discovery. Share your new micro-break habit with us @nutritionhousecanada or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear about them and may share them to encourage others to Take a Micro-Break for Better Mental Wellness
Give Yourself Permission to Breathe
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Remember to breathe!
Wherever you are in your life, we hope you give yourself permission to breathe. We hope that you take time every day to take stock of all the amazing parts of yourself, and you check personal criticism at the door.
The world we live in today is not easy; demands and stresses are bearing down on us every day. Our hope for you is that in a world that is always rushing, you can find a moment of stillness in your life to just be in the moment. Whatever that moment is.
If you feel grief, give yourself permission to feel it. If you feel tired, give yourself permission to take a rest. If you feel joy, then allow yourself to celebrate happiness. If you are not sure what you are feeling, release the pressure of trying to define the feelings and just be in the moment
Whatever happened today, this week or this month, give yourself “Permission to Breathe
- To remember
- To honour
- To celebrate
- To nurture
- To practice thankfulness
- To laugh
- To cry
- To Breathe