Taking a damn break.
I know this isn’t ground-breaking information, but how many of us really listen to this advice and stop working when we want to get things done? It’s too counterintuitive for our brains to accept in the moment.
But the key here is to take productive breaks. Those two words don’t seem like a good match, but just like pineapple and pizza, it (sometimes) works out.
Daniel Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, says the best breaks include interacting with people, moving, and/or going out in nature. But, under no circumstances should you include your phone or work-talk. So, I’ve created the ultimate break: A 15-minute walk in a local park with a friend while leaving your phone (and work complaints) at the office. Booya. But, if scheduling the perfect break is too stressful for you, or you have one of those jobs where you have to give up the luxury of freedom, here are some other ways to get each of these in.
Take a five-minute walk every hour. If the weather isn’t permitting, here’s 10 hours of nature sounds while you walk around your living room. Something is better than nothing!
Do a five-minute stretch.
Push-ups: As many as you have the energy for.
These can slip your mind, so put post-it notes or set alarms.
Schedule a walk with someone nearby. Socializing is important. I know no one needs to tell you this but…someone needs to tell you this.
No one nearby? Put those AirPods in and do a walk n’ talk with a friend.
Mental gear-shifting breaks:
These are especially useful when you’re feeling overwhelmed and unproductive.
Meditate: It can just be one minute. They’re super easy to find on youtube or any meditation app you use.
Breath-work: Sounds intense, but it’s really just consciously controlling your breath. A nice way to relax is inhaling 5 seconds through your nose, holding it for 5 seconds, and exhaling for 7 seconds. Repeat 5 cycles.
As a general note, screen-less breaks will refresh you more than screen-full ones. Duh.