November 05, 2019
BREAKS, HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY
Do you ever feel like you just can’t think anymore? Toward the end of the day, your brain just shuts down? Brain fatigue is real, and it hinders our ability to put forth our best work. Although the brain isn’t technically a muscle, it should be treated like one. If you always worked out the same muscle, it would fatigue and eventually give out. Without breaks throughout the day, our brains can do the same thing. Sitting and working all day can make us feel sluggish and unfocused. It’s no surprise that a sedentary lifestyle also has negative effects on our health as well. It slows circulation, and puts us at a greater risk for heart disease, depression and obesity among others. It also affects our musculoskeletal system, giving us all sorts of aches and pains—not to mention terrible posture.
Below are some small things you can do throughout the day to prevent brain fatigue. Taking very short breaks (2-5 minutes) every hour can prevent decision fatigue, restore motivation, increase productivity and lift morale. It also gives your body a chance to be more physical, increases your step count, and helps the blood circulate.
Easy Breaks to do throughout the day:
Change Your Environment
Have you ever taken a crying baby or toddler to a different room only to notice that he or she stops completely? It gives your brain something else to focus on, which is a nice break from that computer screen. The best thing to do is go outside and enjoy nature. Take in the sounds and breathe. Studies show that getting out and looking at nature eases the mind and makes us happier. If you’re not a fan of the freezing cold or the rain, go to a different room or a different floor.
Do Breathing Exercises or Meditate
If your place of work doesn’t have an open room, this can be done at your desk. Close your eyes and breathe. Pick your favorite place and imagine you’re there. With each breath in through the nose, take in the calming sounds, smells and vibes. With each breath out, let go of the stress you’re holding onto. There are some helpful podcasts available for guided meditation, and they’re free! So pop in your earphones, and feel your stress melt away.
Draw or Doodle
Have a special notebook dedicated specifically for letting your creativity run wild. You can even purchase an adult coloring book and some colored pencils if doodling on a blank page isn’t your thing. Being creative activates the right side of your brain—the part we don’t use for logical thinking and decision-making.
Take a Short Walk
Keep and extra pair of shoes at your desk and get stepping. If you’re up for it, going outside is best. If that can’t be done, take a lap around the office or go up and down the stairs. Get your blood flowing, listen to your favorite song and give your brain a rest. You can even hand deliver a note or get up and have a face-to-face conversation with a colleague instead of making a phone call.
If all else fails, and you really can’t afford to take a quick break, at least switch tasks and come back to what you’re working on later. This allows you to focus on something else for a little while, giving your brain a little rest so you’re able to come back and finish your task with more energy and productivity.