A break is not a bonus

Photo: Pixabay

Breaks are not a reward for what has been achieved but the basic prerequisite for being able to perform at all.

How often do you say to yourself: “I’ll take a break once I have finished xyz, …” The break should not be the last point on your to-do list, but should be scheduled regularly, so your body and mind can regenerate and you remain fit. The “if then attitude” is like driving to Spain, running out of gas in the middle of France and saying: “Once I’ve arrived in Spain, I’ll refuel”.

Breaks are like pit-stops.

Breaks are like pit-stops – they refuel you. Without pauses, our brain is also not able to process recorded information. This does not happen during recording, but during a rest. In addition, when pausing, we do not lose but gain time. Those who regularly skip breaks do less and less in the same time and run the risk of making more mistakes – which then have to be corrected – time that could be saved.

Time for a break?

In everyday life you should take a short break every 60-120 minutes. A few minutes are enough! If you pay attention to your body signals, it’s quite clear when it is time for a break:

  • You feel like eating a snack (usually something sweet).
  • You’re starting to yawn.
  • You feel the need to loll and stretch.
  • Your thoughts wander off
  • You’re more easily distracted.

Flow or fanatic?

Sometimes it can happen that we are completely absorbed by a task. As long as we do it with ease and joyful focus, it is very likely that we are in the flow. This state of being pleasantly challenged in a task we love and find meaningful is usually enriching and not exhausting.

If, however, you observe yourself “sticking” more and more to a task, blinking less and less, breathing flatter and adopting a tense and quite static posture, you are not in flow but you are getting your teeth into it. You lose contact with yourself and with time and you are stressed out. If this seems familiar to you, I recommend the “Pomodoro Technique”. This time management method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. It was named after the kitchen stopwatch in tomato form. As with spaghetti cooking, you set your kitchen clock (or alternatively the alarm clock of your mobile phone – which you can then keep in your pocket on vibration alarm) to 30 or 60 minutes. Take a break as soon as it rings – this way you stay al-dente the day ;-))

Variety is king

The regular breaks do not have to last long, 2-5 minutes are enough. Everything that is the opposite to you previous activity contributes to your recovery.

For example, if you working on a desk with a screen …

  • Look through the window of your office and let your thoughts wander. (break for the eyes)
  • Take a few steps – preferably in the fresh air (break for the body)
  • let your thoughts wander (pause for the spirit)
  • Drink a glass of water
  • No need to switch from PC screen to mobile screen

When you work standing up or in the midst of a lot of people:

  • look for a quiet place – best in nature with fresh air, sit upright and close your eyes. Perhaps you even meditate briefly
  • drink a glass of water or make yourself a cup of tea

No matter in which activity, a change of location makes it easier for us to switch off and enjoy the break time (from the desk to the kitchenette, from the sales room to the door, etc.).

So, take a break and stay al-dente!

All the best,

Birgit

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