The Importance of Rest & Ways to Give Your Brain a Break During the Workday

The Importance of Rest & Ways to Give Your Brain a Break During the Workday

The Importance of Rest & Ways to Give Your Brain a Break During the Workday

You might think that powering through your workday and daily to-do’s without stopping means you’re at the height of productivity – but without taking the time to rest, you’re actually making it harder to cross things off your list.

Your brain needs downtime to function properly, and in life’s constant barrage of “go, go, go,” it is essential to carve out some space for rest.

Let’s dive into the importance of rest and some simple things you can do throughout your day to give your brain a break – without needing to take a nap or a spa day.

Why is it important to take breaks during the workday?

The human brain is only able to focus for approximately 90 minutes before its cognitive abilities begin to slip – but the workday lasts much longer than that.

Without periodic rest, the brain starts to lose its ability to retain memories, can’t focus as well, and experiences a decrease in productivity. Over time, this leads to feelings of exhaustion, workplace burnout, stress, and anxiety.

In order to be the most productive version of yourself at work and in life and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, it is essential to take regular brain breaks throughout your day.

Three way to give your brain a break during the workday

1. Don’t eat at your desk during your lunch break

To help give your brain a break during the workday, make sure to actually take your lunch break – without eating at your desk.

Studies show that prolonged sitting leads to a heightened risk of heart disease, stroke, and other physical and mental health issues. However, one survey shows that individuals who take a lunch break away from their desk are happier with their jobs and feel more productive at work.

Plus, eating lunch at your desk means you’re more likely to respond to any incoming work-related tasks versus actually taking the time for yourself. It also becomes harder to pay attention to what you’re eating, which can lead to the potential to overeat or feel hungrier earlier in the afternoon.

Ways to take a more mindful lunch break:

– Use part of your lunch break to take a quick walk around the block or a nearby park.
– Dine at a nearby cafe or restaurant instead of your office.
– Grab a bite with a coworker in the break room (without talking about work).
– Silence work-related notifications during your lunch break.
– Read a book or listen to a podcast instead of doom scrolling on your phone.

2. Schedule smaller breaks throughout your workday

To ensure you have adequate time to rest during the workday, it can be helpful to schedule short breaks ahead of time.

Whether it’s a quick stroll around your neighborhood or office or calling a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with, try to take a short break every 90 minutes or so in order to provide your brain with a break and enhance productivity once you return to work.

How to schedule time for breaks into your workday:

– Identify common milestones throughout your workday to set yourself up for success. For example, take a break every time you finish responding to all the emails in your inbox or after a recurring weekly meeting.
– If you have back-to-back meetings all day, set the expectation that you’ll need to hop off 5 to 10 minutes early to provide you with a much-needed moment of peace before your next commitment.
– For any meetings you schedule going forward, try to set them for 25 instead of 30 minutes or 50 minutes instead of 1 hour.

3. Actively rest during breaks from work

When you actively rest your brain, you avoid focusing heavily on certain thoughts or tackling complex tasks related to your job or goals. So when you take a physical break from work, make sure you also take a mental one by leaving any work-related thoughts at your desk.

Of course, there will certainly be waiting for you once you return – but actively resting your brain will help you tackle them head on.

How to unplug from the workday and practice active resting:

– Set clear boundaries for the start and end of your work day and do what you can to schedule and stick to breaks. To unplug and help signal to your brain that you’re done working, you can try creating a relaxing routine that you follow at the end of each workday, such as taking a walk, journaling, or exercising.
– Silence all work-related notifications during breaks or the end of the workday.
– Practice mindfulness by meditating and focusing on your breath and bodily sensations.

Final Thoughts on the Importance of Rest & Ways to Give Your Brain a Break

When you have limited free time, you have to schedule it in – or else your mental wellbeing will pay for it down the line.

So as you move throughout your workdays and embark on your plans for the new year, may you find more rest, relaxation, and time for yourself.

“Your brain needs downtime to function properly, and in life’s constant barrage of “go, go, go,” it is essential to carve out some space for rest.”

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Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 3 books. Her newest, Mind Over Moment: Harness the Power of Resilience, is available on Amazon now.


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