Why Work Breaks Help You Be Productive

Getting Started

Taking a break from work can be a positive thing for your health. Breaks can include anything from standing up and walking around to taking that overdue vacation. Find what restores you, and take the time to do that. Here are some ideas to try.

  • Sprinkle short breaks throughout your day.
    • Take deep breaths. You can try it now. Stop what you're doing, and focus on your breath moving in and out. Doing this for even 1 minute can be a quick break from work. There are apps and other resources out there if you need ideas.
    • Rest your eyes. Use the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from your screen for at least 20 seconds. Look at something that's about 20 feet away. And do this about every 20 minutes.
    • Make time for movement. This can be as small as shifting from sitting to standing. Or as big as using your lunch break for a long walk or an exercise class. Want something more medium-sized? Try stretching your arms overhead or leaving your desk for a stroll around the building, your home, or outside.
    • Connect with others. Take the time to talk with coworkers. Maybe you can share your plans for the coming weekend. Connect over video, gather at the watercooler, or set up a time to meet for lunch—brown bag or dine out.
    • Eat lunch away from your desk. Try having lunch outside or maybe in another room.
  • Use your weekends wisely.

    When you can, use the weekend as a mini-vacation. Taking just a day or two to recharge can really help.

  • Take a vacation.

    Sometimes you need time to recharge and find inspiration. This can be in a faraway place or right in your home.

    • Focus on what restores you. Maybe it's something physically active (like hiking), mentally active (like reading), or just relaxing (like taking a bath).
    • Unplug from screens and devices. Give your brain and your eyes a vacation from your screens. Leave them at home or go somewhere that doesn't have an internet connection.
    • Distance yourself from work emails and calls. Try silencing your phone from pings about work. Put up an email out-of-office notification, and record a new voicemail message that says you're away.

Credits

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
JoLynn Montgomery PA - Family Medicine