Feeling Overwhelmed? Then It’s Time to Take a Break

Take a Break

Working constantly from 9 – 5 can have a negative impact on your wellbeing and can even hinder your overall productivity on tasks. If you’re starting to feel under pressure, it could be time to take a break.

It’s often thought that when working to strict deadlines or within a pressurized environment, that working all the way through without reprieve is the best way to complete tasks quickly and more efficiently.

However, this mindset couldn’t be further from the truth, as recent research from the University of Illinois suggests that the human brain’s attentional resources actually tend to drop after a long period of focusing on a task.

So if putting all of our effort and time into work tasks day in and day out is having the opposite effect than intended, what are the benefits of allowing ourselves to take a break?

After some research of our own, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most significant ones below.

The Benefits When We Take A Break

Refocus and Re-evaluate

If you are someone who works to assigning time blocks for tasks (or uses another type of method in order to organize your work day), allowing yourself to take a break means that you provide yourself with more time to look over your current schedule or to have a greater sense of awareness as to what can be considered urgent and non-urgent.

Some work, such as data entry and intensive research tasks, require a greater deal of concentration which can often lead to us losing focus during the most important stages.

Just by giving ourselves 5-10 minutes in order to organize some paperwork, grab a coffee or cup of tea or even have a brief discussion with a colleague, giving ourselves the opportunity to take a break will provide a better outlook and a more positive mindset when returning to a previously left task.

The Ergonomics Factor

The importance of correct ergonomics and maintaining a healthy work life is something that is regularly made conscious.

It only takes once glance at the recent Fellowes ‘Meet Emma’ marketing campaign to understand just how damaging and life-changing working in an office environment can be should we not take time to regularly adjust our posture, stand up every now and again and move around at regular intervals.

By making sure to take a break regularly, we can improve our ergonomics in the workplace in the easiest of ways – whether it’s making sure to regular adjust our sitting position by doing some desk tidying, getting up and walking to the staff kitchen or just standing up to have a stretch.

And in workplace environments that require a lot of physical labor (i.e. jobs in which you’ll find yourself lifting and carrying on a regular basis), taking a break also lessens the chance of picking up injuries, as we allow our bodies to recuperate and adjust.

As DSE regulations indicate, we should always aim to take a break from computers and other digital screens after at least 50-60 minutes of screen work for 5-10 minutes, in order to avoid damage to our retinas and lessen the chance of headaches/migraines caused by consistent screen use.

Release Your Creativity

Stubbornly trying to work through ‘writer’s block’ on written tasks or on a new project when experiencing a ‘creative block’ as previously mentioned earlier in this article, can actually do a lot more harm than good, especially when it comes to our creative and problem-solving skills.

Often, making sure to take a break when we experience these frustrations provides a lot more room for foresight and helps us to generate more creative and comprehensive solutions we previously struggled to consider possible.

If you really need to clear your mind of current stresses and concerns relating to work, then taking up a short portion of time to meditate or practice some workplace relaxation techniques may be just the type of break you need in order to look at situations in another light or even come up with a better idea than you came up with originally.

And if you are someone who often experiences the afternoon slump (a commonly termed time period towards the latter end of each day in which we often feel our most fatigued), providing yourself with the chance to take a short break to fill up your water bottle or to enjoy a quick snack at work will have you feeling revitalized and refreshed to finish any uncompleted tasks before home time beckons.

Want Your Business to Succeed? Allow Your Workers to Take Breaks Often

Kate Walker Miles, a tutor and Client Manager at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) Business touts that allowing workers to take more breaks benefits both the morale of the workforce and leads to better business success overall.

She explains:

“Creating a culture where workers can centre themselves, stretch, and take some time to refocus will better prepare them for situations where they’re under the spotlight.

Relaxation time can build confidence, make you more adaptable and feel better understood by others.

This is a simple yet effective technique to support workers but also allow businesses to succeed.”

Walker Miles’ comments stem from a recent study of 1,000 workplaces carried out by the firm, which concludes that over 42% of workers who take advantage of breaks and micro-breaks in the workplace feel better prepared and more effective.

More findings from RADA Business’ survey can be found here.

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Sam Rose

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