It may seem that taking a break is the opposite of working better, yet it actually can improve your effectivity and success if utilized right. Taking a short break every 15-60 minutes that you are working or focusing on a project, can recharge your brain and help you to think faster and clearer while on task, according to research at the University of Illinois.
However, a smart break does not consist of total procrastination, wasting energy on irrelevant actions, or having hours of downtime. A smart break is one that takes 5-20 minutes to relax your concentration, allow you to daydream, and gets your body moving and away from the computer, phone, or desk chair.
I have witnessed many service-oriented professionals push themselves too hard, by being hyper-focused on their work or customers, to the point of exhaustion. Self-care is absolutely essential to the socially conscious entrepreneur and business person, in order to maintain longevity of your work. You can either take care of yourself now, pace yourself, work efficiently, and serve many people throughout your whole long life - or you can push yourself aggressively now, serve some people for a handful of years, and then have to retire early because of illness, fatigue or depletion.
You will get more accomplished through efficient action than overworking and pushing yourself. Through appropriate use of timely breaks, you will avoid burnout and thus be able to do more, maintain your passion for your work, and create greater longevity for your career. Smart breaks support you to have a sustainable business.
To utilize this practice, try taking a 5 - 10 minute mini-break every 30 minutes that you are focusing on a project, or a 15 - 20 minute break every hour to move your body, nourish yourself, connect with nature, and tune into your spirit.
Here are my top 4 tips for taking a break to energize your body and recharge your brain - because you totally deserve it!
1. Drink More Water
Our bodies are made of 70% water and our brains are constantly bathed in cerebrospinal fluid. We need to be well-hydrated for the body to function at proper levels. By the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated, and your cognition and intuition are hindered. Keep a water bottle by your desk or office at all times. Drink the cleanest water possible. I recommend spring water, mineral water or distilled water from glass or metal containers, not plastic. If you only have tap water make sure you get the best filter you can buy. Staying well-hydrated helps to think better and feel better!
2. Jump and Jiggle
Bouncing up and down, and shaking your head, arms, and legs, stimulates and vibrates every cell in your body. This is a fun practice that may look silly, but it brings quick energy to your whole being, as well as discharges stress, tension, and stagnation. Jumping and jiggling is great for whole body health and particularly stimulates your lymphatic system promoting enhanced immunity and detoxification. You can do this on your own, or invest in a rebounder (a mini-trampoline) for an even more bouncy break. Try also toning or making sounds while jiggling (my kids love to join in on this one). It’s also a great way to wake up the brain in the morning to begin your day.
3. Spiral Your Hips
When sitting at a desk and working, blood can stagnate in our legs, pelvis and belly. Standing up and spiraling the hips gets the circulation moving from the lower limbs back to the heart and the brain. Spiraling enhances your creativity, supports your digestion, and prevents back, hip and leg discomfort. Spiral your hips several times in both directions to enhance your circulation and clarity. A few minutes of spiraling and my energy is up, my hips are more flexible, and frequently a new creative idea has popped into my mind. This is one of my favorite movement practices, but any way you can go ahead and exercise your body to help your mind as well!
4. Go Outside
Being outdoors has numerous therapeutic benefits for the body, mind and spirit. Take a step outside, go for a short walk, breath deeply of the fresh air, and get some sunlight on your skin. Prevent eye-strain from being on computer, tablet, and phone screens all day by gazing far-away in the distance, look at the horizon, and relax your eyes. If the weather and environment is conducive, take off your shoes and go barefoot, this will ground you physically and electro-magnetically with the Earth. At the very least, open a window and take a few breaths.
Try for yourself how smart breaks can increase your efficiency, improve your work, and support the longevity of your service to the world. Your body, spirit, soul, and mind are worth it!
What's your favorite way to take a break and recharge? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!
Bouncing for bliss,