In today’s world, many of us are going 100 mph all the time with little to no time to ourselves (hello, work, kids, chores, and other obligations). A break just doesn’t seem feasible. Taking a break may feel like you’re wasting your precious minutes, but in reality NOT taking a few minutes for yourself can be counterintuitive. Here are five benefits of, well, taking five.
1. Boost Energy
Work and daily tasks can be demanding, requiring a lot of intense focus that can feel draining after awhile. Taking a moment to step away from these tasks and doing something you enjoy can be invigorating and boost energy. When working on these tedious tasks, the brain is constantly helping you make decisions. After some time, the prefrontal cortex (that’s the decision making factory in your noggin) becomes fatigued and then YOU become fatigued. Use this 15 minute coffee break workout to help keep your energy flowing throughout your day!
2. Retain more information
Have you ever been in the middle of working on something and then out of nowhere forget what you got up to walk into the break room for? Researchers have known for a while that sleep is important for retaining and processing information (remember those all-night study sessions in college and how they maybe didn’t work so well?). New evidence suggests that breaks or “resting while awake” can be important for memory retention, as well. This helps your brain get some downtime and process information in spurts rather than all at once.
3. Focus more on your goals
Taking breaks can help to recenter your mindset on your goals, especially when it comes to the goals you set with your Goal Specialist while with Noom. Have you ever skipped your lunch break and found yourself mindless munching on the leftover donuts someone brought in for breakfast? Decision fatigue starts to kick in and (almost) immediately we seem to let our personal goals slip. Stepping away from your tasks can help you take some time to yourself to focus on your needs, health, and emotions. Another word for this could be self-care. Take a look at these ideas on how to incorporate self-care into your day and prevent decision fatigue.
4. Fuel your creativity
Breaks can fuel creativity by allowing the brain to form connections between different pieces of information. The complexities of our thought processes remain active and one study found that those struggling with a complicated task may be better served by switching to something simpler and letting their thoughts wander for a bit. Ever had those random…but brilliant shower thoughts?! Yeah, that’s daydreaming at work!
5. Manage stress
Most (if not all) of us experience stress in some shape or form everyday, and sometimes we let it build and bubble over. We may start to feel anxious or start to work on auto-pilot. This is where a break comes in. Taking a break can interrupt the stress cycle and allow us to step away from our demands to catch our breath. This can have mental and physiological effects. You may feel your heart rate drop, that headache subside, and your thoughts become immensely more positive. Check out these stress busting strategies to try on your next break.