I’m very lucky. I have an outdoor studio and once I have finished writing this article, I will get myself ready to take a break out there. I’ll actually lie down on my mat, I’ll get my bolster out and I’ll use my lovely lavender eye cushion. Ready to take a short break. And the reason I do this is it improves creativity, it improves focus, it improves productivity. I see me getting better value from the work I do by taking regular breaks, and it is not just me, it is not just anecdotal evidence.
The Benefits Of Short Breaks
Some of us are still in lockdown and working from home. Work and private live can blur together into one long day for some of us. In those circumstances, taking regular breaks can be a game changer. As I mentioned briefly above, this is not just anecdotal. There have been lots of studies around the benefits of taking regular breaks. There is a 2011 study that I was reading earlier, from the University of Illinois, that found multiple benefits from employees taking regular breaks in their day. And by break, I mean it could be two minutes in an hour, it could be taking a solid lunch break, or 10-minute breaks every few hours, maybe one in the morning, one in the afternoon. But they found that employee engagement went up as well as improved focus, improved concentration, improved creativity as well, and better problem solving. So tonnes of reasons why it’s really valuable to take a break.
Sun, Fresh Air And Walking
Now, you may not have a studio, you may not want to meditate or lie out with a bolster and an eye cushion. Maybe you stand in the sun, get some glorious benefits of Vitamin D3 and the energy that the sun provides. Maybe you go off and do something completely different, but try and make it non screen-based whatever it is you do. And what would be fabulous is to go out and just take a 10-minute brisk walk somewhere. Get fresh oxygenated blood flowing around the body, good for neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, good for the whole body to move. That is what we were designed to do. We were designed to locomote. We were designed to move.
So that is my tip for you. I know most of you are still working from home. You probably have sat your desk, you are getting those tight quadriceps, you are getting those slumped shoulders. A lot of our clients are reporting that they are feeling stiffer than ever because they are just not moving at all, not even to get on a train, or to go to their manager’s office, or walk around the building. So please do move and please do take breaks. Both of them are going to have work wonders for your professional and your personal life, and make you feel better.
This article first appeared in the June issue of SE22 magazine.