In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to find ways to keep your mind fresh and focused throughout the workday. Taking short breaks can help to rejuvenate your mind and body, and can help you to stay productive for the rest of the day.
But with so many things vying for our attention these days, it can be hard to know how to take a break that is both enjoyable and beneficial. Here are some ideas for work breaks to take throughout the day to retain your focus and mood.
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Why take breaks throughout your workday
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of a project and you hit a wall. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to make any more progress. Your mind is fuzzy and your motivation is flagging.
Sound familiar? This is why it’s so important to take breaks during your workday. By stepping away from your work for even just a few minutes, you can give your mind a chance to rest and rejuvenate.
Studies have shown that workers who take regular breaks are more likely to be productive than those who try to power through their workday without stopping. As a result, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the task at hand with renewed energy and focus.
So next time you’re feeling stuck, don’t be afraid to step away from your desk for a few minutes. Your productivity will thank you for it.
Here are some ideas for work breaks to take throughout the day so that you don’t feel too bored by your breaks!
Work break ideas for work-from-home peeps
1. Take a short walk outdoors
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and increase overall productivity. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by work, take a quick break to go for a walk outside. Even a few minutes of fresh air and sunshine can make a world of difference.
If you live in an urban area, try to find a nearby park or green space to walk in. Or, if you work from home, take a lap or two around your block.
2. Make yourself a healthy snack
When your energy starts to flag, it can be tempting to reach for unhealthy snacks like candy or chips. But these quick fixes will only leave you feeling sluggish and unproductive in the long run.
Instead, take a break to make yourself a healthy snack that will give you sustained energy throughout the day. Try pairing some whole-grain crackers with cheese or hummus, or munching on a handful of nuts or dried fruit.
3. Exercise or do some stretches
Doing some light exercise or stretches is a great way to break up the monotony of your workday and get your blood flowing. Not only will this help you to feel more alert and awake, but it can also help to reduce stress levels and improve your overall mood.
4. Call a friend or family member
Sometimes all you need is a little social interaction to break up the monotony of your workday. So take a few minutes to call a friend or family member. Catch up on each other’s lives, chat about your day, or just vent about whatever is stressing you out.
5. Play with a pet
If you have a pet, take advantage of their cuteness and give them some extra attention during your break. Play a game of fetch with your dog, or give your cat a good scratch behind the ears. Not only will this help to relieve stress, but it will also put a smile on your face.
6. Take a power nap
Napping has been shown to improve mood, alertness, and overall cognitive function. So if you’re feeling exhausted, consider taking a quick power nap. Set an alarm for 20-30 minutes and see if you can fall asleep.
7. Watch a funny video or read a humorous article
Laughter has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve overall productivity. So if you’re feeling bogged down by work, take a break to watch a funny video or read a humorous article. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your work with a new perspective.
You can use tools like Pocket, a free browser extension, to save articles and content you’d like to collect and return to later. That way, when your break time is up, you can file away all the tabs you have open and not worry about missing out. They’ll be there for you on the next break!
8. Listen to music or an audiobook
Listening to music or an audiobook can help to improve your mood and focus, and make your workday feel less monotonous. So put on your headphones and escape into another world for a few minutes. You can create a playlist of your favorite songs, or find a new audiobook to get lost in.
I love Libro.fm for audiobooks because the price is the same as the most popular audiobook platform, but you are able to support a local bookshop of your choice with the audiobook purchases you make there. Supporting local businesses for the win.
9. Take time for yourself to meditate, journal, pray, or whatever floats your boat
We all need a little time to ourselves now and then to decompress and recharge. So take a break to do whatever helps you relax and center yourself. This could be something like meditating, journaling, praying, or even just sitting in silence for a few minutes.
10. Start planning a daytrip or weekend trip
Looking forward to something can help improve your mood and make the workday feel less long. So take a break to start planning a trip or fun activity for the upcoming weekend. You can browse travel websites, look up events in your area, or just daydream about all the possibilities.
11. Enjoy some of your favorite aromas
Studies have shown that certain aromas can help improve focus and increase productivity. So if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, try popping some of your favorite essential oils into a diffuser or burning a scented candle. Some of my personal favorites include cedarwood, peppermint, and anything spicy.
12. Take five minutes to color in a coloring book
Adult coloring books have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. They’re a great way to relax and de-stress. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by work, take a break to color in a coloring book for a few minutes.
You can find a ton of really pretty adult coloring books by independent artists on places like Etsy. If you have an iPad, you can find some great coloring page apps in the app store for free or a few bucks. Bookshop.org is a great place to buy adult coloring books since a portion of the proceeds go to a local bookshop of your choice.
Here’s some adult coloring book ideas for ya:
13. Watch a nature or history documentary on YouTube
There’s something about watching footage of nature that can instantly calm and relax the mind. So if you’re feeling stressed, take a break to watch a nature documentary on YouTube or another streaming platform like Hulu or Curiosity Stream, which is one of my favs for stuff like this.
I’ve heard that Magellan TV also has a great nature and historical documentary library, so if you’ve gotten a subscription from them after one of your favorite YouTubers recommended it, work breaks would be a great use for that.
14. Make a list of things you’re grateful for
It’s corny, but it’s beneficial to do at least every few months. Research has shown that practicing gratitude can help improve your mood and outlook on life. So take a break to write down a few things you’re grateful for, no matter how small they may seem.
15. Take some time to practice a new skill or hobby
We all have hobbies and skills we’d like to learn, but never seem to find the time for. So use your break time to explore something new! You could learn how to knit, start a garden, or even just try out a new recipe.
Doing something that’s not work-related can help you feel more well-rounded and fulfilled, and make the workday feel less tedious. Hobbies are beneficial for adults and it’s important to make time for them.
Here’s a list of realistic hobby ideas for parents if you like the idea of having a new hobby but you’re not sure where to start.
16. Clean or organize something
I know, I know. Cleaning is hardly anyone’s idea of a fun break. But hear me out! There’s something strangely satisfying about taking a few minutes to clean or organize something, even if it’s just your desk. Plus, it can help you feel more productive and in control of your environment.
17. Take a few minutes to daydream and brainstorm new ideas
Use your break time to let your mind wander and explore new possibilities. daydream about what you’d like to be doing in five years, brainstorm ways to improve your current work situation, or just come up with some fun ideas for the future.
Maybe there’s a project you’re working on. A side hustle? A blog? An art piece? A book? Let your mind explore different possibilities and ideas for what you could create.
18. Take a break to cook your meal or snacks, or do a full-on meal-prep session
This one is great if you’re trying to eat healthier or make things easier on yourself during your workdays. Taking the time to cook your own meals from scratch can help you save money and make better food choices.
And if you’re really short on time, you can use your break to meal-prep for the upcoming week. That way, you’ll have healthy meals or snacks ready
19. Take care of some personal tasks (like laundry, grocery shopping, meal planning, etc.)
We all have to do the less fun things in life, but they don’t have to consume our entire day. Dedicate some of your break time to taking care of personal tasks that you wouldn’t normally have time for during the workday. That way, you can enjoy your free time later on without having to worry about them.
20.) Make a list of skills you’d like to learn in the future
This is similar to the last idea, but instead of brainstorming new ideas, make a list of skills you’d like to learn in the future. This could be anything from learning how to code to taking a cooking class.
Making a list will help you narrow down what you want to focus on and make it more likely that you’ll actually follow through with learning the skill.
21.) Play a video game or work on a puzzle
This is a great way to take a break if you’re feeling mentally drained. Video games can help improve your problem-solving skills, and puzzles can help sharpen your mind. Plus, they’re both just fun!
22.) Curate a Pinterest board about some of the ideas you’ve compiled from previous breaks using your old notes
Pinterest is such a great place to organize information visually. From planning weekend trips to meal planning to learning new information about skills and hobbies, Pinterest is a place where you can collect and curate photos and articles about any topic that interests you.
It’s very easy to spend 10-20 minutes checking out and curating pins that you’ll want to reference in the future and makes for a fun and quick work break.
23.) Read a few pages of a book
Some progress is progress! Dedicate a few minutes of your break to reading a book, even if you can only get through a few pages. It’s a great way to relax and escape from the work day.
24.) Watch a short TED talk or listen to a podcast about something you’re interested in
There are so many great TED talks and podcasts out there about any topic you can imagine. Use your break time to watch or listen to one that interests you. It’s a great way to learn something new or gain a different perspective on something.
25.) Find an alternative viewpoint for a topic you’re interested in and bookmark their content or videos for later
It’s important to be able to listen to many different sides of an argument to avoid living in an echo chamber. We can all benefit from listening to a wider array of voices and opinions.
Find someone who has an alternative viewpoint on a topic you’re interested in and bookmark their content or videos for later. It’ll help you broaden your understanding of the world and become a more informed person.