As defined by the dictionary, a break is “an interruption in continuity, a pause in work or during an activity or event”.
Breaks allow you to pause and rest so that you can resume whatever you’re doing with new energy.
Unfortunately, breaks are often associated with guilt, and this is because while on a break, you’re often still and seemingly doing nothing and you can’t prove that this “doing nothing” will help you do, feel and perform better in the future.
This is not your fault, but the fault of how our society has been built and the values that have been instilled in us: time is money and somebody who isn’t actively doing something is literally wasting someone else’s money or not generating money at all.
But times have changed and new insights have been acquired on the benefits of breaks. It’s time to acknowledge how critical breaks are for our mental and physical health. Breaks are like sleep and food, and you can’t skip them if you want to function properly. They are the reason you’re actually functioning properly.
Continuously working without taking proper breaks is harming not just your productivity but also your mental and physical health and thus your overall wellbeing.
Here are the most significant benefits of taking frequent breaks:
Breaks help you to decompress and to manage stress better. If you’re constantly building up stress without ever finding the time and outlet to relax, it can turn into chronic stress and eventually burnout. Taking frequent breaks can actively help you to reduce stress and to prevent it from accumulating.
Breaks are a good way to break up your routine and engage in something which can help you relax and lift your mood. Use your break to do something that you know you will enjoy and that can lift your spirit, like engaging in social life or pursuing your hobby.
Breaks are a great occasion to get moving, especially if you’re sitting the whole day in front of a monitor. Even just moving a bit every hour can have serious benefits in the long term and help to prevent more serious issues such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and depression.
Working without breaks for prolonged periods of time can seriously drain your energy and motivation. Especially when working on long-term projects, it’s important that you take those breaks, as they allow you to keep your motivation high for longer periods of time.
If you’re faced with a problem and need to find a creative solution, it’s often a good idea to step away and do something else for a while. Taking frequent breaks allow you to detach and gain a new perspective on the matter.
Breaks allow you to consolidate whatever you’re learning or working on. When you allow your mind to rest, you’re giving it a chance to review and engrain what you’ve just learned, helping you to retain information better.
When you take frequent breaks, you have a chance to slow down, get an overview of the work or the task at hand and effectively reassess new information so to re-evaluate the progress. Skipping those breaks results in rushing headlessly from task to task without looking at the bigger picture.
Nobody can concentrate for long stretches of time and our mind naturally seeks a break after around 25 minutes. Without allowing for such breaks you’re draining your energy without ever refueling it, deteriorating your ability to focus and causing fatigue and exhaustion. Taking frequent breaks helps you to keep your energy levels at a constant level and allow you to restore your ability to focus.
Breaks help to alleviate mental fatigue and help replenish your mental resources, which in return has a positive effect on your overall wellbeing.
There are many factors that affect your productivity, and taking care of your physical and mental health is a big part of it. If you take care of your mental and physical health, it will allow you to work better and be more productive.