You’re busy. I know you’re busy because I’m busy too. So much so that I recently decided to outsource some work to a virtual assistant and for the Type A control freak that I am (not to mention that I’ve been doing every single thing related to my business for the past 14 years). But we need to stop wearing fatigue as an accessory or status symbol! There’s nothing sexy about losing sleep for the sake of getting another task done. You rush through your days and probably right now have numerous browsers open or are only halfway reading this because you have so much on your mind. That’s life in the world we live in. But did you know that taking a break is far more beneficial than just a few minutes of downtime?
Whether it’s a 10 minute break in the middle of your workday or a full week away (because if you know me, you know that travel is just as important to me as eating and breathing), taking breaks has numerous benefits. Here’s 4 of the best…
One of the reasons many people refuse to take breaks is that they think they’ll get more done without them, but the opposite is true. You’re less focused and make more mistakes the longer you continue to work without a break.
Alejandro Lleras, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, states:
“…Deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused,” he said. “From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks (such as studying before a final exam or doing your taxes), it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task!”
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of burnout. You dread your daily tasks, you’ve lost your passion for the work, and you can even start experiencing adverse physical effects like regular headaches and stomach upset. When the mind and body get a chance to completely let go and turn “off” for a while, they can recover and come back even stronger. You wouldn’t work out for hours at a time, every day for weeks without taking any breaks, right? You’d injure yourself or at the very least your body would start to rebel against you. Your mind is the same way. It needs that downtime to keep from injuring itself and slowing down.
Manage stress better
When you allow your body and mind to take regular breaks, they’re better able to handle the stresses you may throw at them. And while a 10 or 20 minute break to do anything but work is still beneficial, it’s even more pronounced when you can take a nap. Studies have shown that taking a 20-minute nap in the afternoon actually provides more rest than sleeping an extra 20 minutes in the morning!
We often get so occupied taking care of others that we neglect ourselves; but as the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You need that personal time, whether it’s a half hour on your lunch break to take a walk, or even just few minutes to sneak in the closet and enjoy a cookie or glass of wine while they kids watch a cartoon, that time is for you and you alone. Or better yet, why not schedule a regularly occurring massage appointment with your favorite neighborhood massage and wellness center? It does incredible things for the mind and the soul when you can focus just on yourself. Personally, I have dedicated almost every Sunday to not working. I don’t open my laptop, don’t respond to emails, and make that MY day (unless I am teaching a workshop, and then it’s all about having fun).
In good hands,
Rebecca Tamm, LMT