Welcome back to the BCRS blog! I’m assuming you have read my last blog post ‘looking after employee mental health’. If not click here to catch-up. Following on from last week’s post, this week I will be addressing the importance of taking a break during the working day in more detail. 49% of UK workers do not take their dedicated lunch break. How many of you are guilty of this?
When working on a time-consuming project or when you feel that you have too much to do, it is easy to convince yourself that you don’t have the time to take breaks. However, taking a break can be very beneficial for you and your work. Screen-breaks, lunchtime breaks and longer breaks, have all been shown to have a positive relationship with wellbeing and productivity. Read on to find out the benefits of taking a break during the working day.
Taking regular breaks helps you be more productive
While taking breaks might sound counterintuitive when it comes to boosting productivity, it’s one of the best ways to do so. You gain focus and energy after stepping away from your desks. A lunch break can help prevent an unproductive, mid-afternoon slump. Actively creating a schedule of regular breaks will give you a series of deadlines to work towards, which can spur you on to finish a task more quickly. A combination of all the benefits I’m going to delve into in just a moment will ultimately enable you to work more productively and effectively.
Breaks help you to process and retain information
Our brains have two functioning modes: ‘focused’, and ‘diffused’. When operating in diffused mode, our brain is more relaxed and in a ‘daydream’ type state. How many times have you stumbled upon a great idea when you’re in the shower? I know I have! Next time you have a difficult problem to solve, try letting your brain wander and find its own solution, instead of forcing yourself to find the answer.
You’ll be more creative
Never taking a break from tasks at hand actually reduces your ability to be creative. Your cognitive capacity is exhausted and it’s more difficult to get creative compared to if your brain is more rested. Taking a break can give you a fresh perspective on challenging projects. If you’re skipping lunch to continue to push forward in a very intense project, then you’re probably not doing yourself any favours.
Afterall, it’s harder to develop new ideas or solutions when you’ve been looking at the same thing all day. Giving yourself time to rest and recharge – just as an athlete would allow their body to rest after a race or training session. It will energise you for the next task ahead. A lunch break will most certainly help get those creative juices flowing.
Breaks can help you cultivate healthier habits
When you’re busy and stressed, the usual healthy habits – such as eating nutritious meals, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep – can easily fall by the wayside. Taking a proper lunch break gives you time to incorporate these healthy habits into your normal working day, whether that’s making time to prepare a healthy meal (rather than grabbing a store-bought sandwich or ready meal), exercise or meditate.
Taking regular breaks away from your computer or smartphone screen can also help to prevent computer vision syndrome, which commonly includes eye strain and headaches. Medical professionals recommend looking away from your screen every 20 minutes and looking at something around 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
One last thing from me. Here are some tips to prompt you to regularly step away and rebuild your energy.
- Agree break times with your peers and help each other to stick to the break time you’ve agreed.
- Set an alarm on your phone to prompt you or add it to your work calendar.
- Plan to do something in your break that you enjoy – this will motivate you to keep to the break.
- Pay attention to any benefits you experience when you take a break – this will lodge in your mind and motivate you to take breaks in future.
For more tips and tricks and trends head to our blog page.
Follow us on social media:
Published by Lauren McGowan – Digital Marketing Assistant