During my retail career and my time at United Way, social media was an escape from work, and I often turned to one of the many apps during my breaks. Now that I’ve transitioned to my current position at TGR Foundation writing and social media are major functions of my role, and now I need an escape from them.
There have been many studies and experts who attest to the need for breaks during the day, not to mention the right granted by law. Everyone who works a 40-hour work week should take a minimum of three breaks during the day including two paid rest breaks and one meal break lasting 30 minutes to an hour. While these periods and the time granted vary across different states, companies and organizations, there is usually a similar standard. See your employee handbook or the state labor and employment guidelines for specifics. Below are some activities to clear your mind, maximize your time and achieve productivity on your next break that have worked for me; walks and word puzzles are two of my favorites.
1. Take a walk.
Research has shown that getting 10,000 steps daily or 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can significantly enhance your health and reduce issues that lead to illnesses and injuries. Get a head-start on your evening workout or add to your morning fitness routine. In addition to physical benefits taking a walk outdoors has been shown to increase creativity and productivity.
2. Engage your brain outside of technology.
Keep your brain going without overworking it by completing a word puzzle, reading a book or journaling. These activities require little effort and are therapeutic for many. Word puzzles are one of my favorite activities during my lunch break because it allows me to rest my eyes from screen time while still using my brain and expanding my vocabulary.
3. Connect with friends and family.
Sometimes we get so busy with our life lists, everyday tasks and routines that days, months and years go by since we’ve spoken with loved ones. Use your break to make a quick call or write a note. A quick call from my family during breaks allows me to check in and often brightens my day.
4. Have a meal or snack.
Nutrition is another key to health and productivity. Take a moment to practice mindfulness while enjoying a snack or meal. Ignite all your senses and enjoy what you’re consuming.
5. Run errands within close proximity to your workplace or schedule appointments.
Plan ahead to complete tasks that can be done during your breaks. Its a great time to drop or pick up laundry, fill up on gas or take your vehicle through the car wash or even schedule that doctor or dentist appointment you’ve been meaning to make.
Bonus: Take a nap.
Sometimes it's helpful for me to close my eyes for a few minutes after staring at a screen for several hours. If you know taking a nap will make you more tired and reduce your productivity, revert to some of the recommendations above.
How do you escape from social media and/or remain productive on your work breaks?
Hugs & Handshakes,
Jasmine C. Tate