Working from Home: 7 Ways to Take Effective Breaks

effective breaks

If you’re one of the many people working from home right now, you might be experiencing a whole new set of challenges. From virtual meetings and your normal workload, to interruptions from pets and kids, it might be more difficult than ever to take a break. But it’s still critically important to step away from work throughout the day.

Why? Taking breaks not only improves your mental health, but boosts creativity and productivity. Studies have shown that employees feel more engaged, energetic, and satisfied if they take a break to recharge and de-stress. While it can be difficult to find ways to escape, especially when you’re at home, here are a few ways to get the breaks you need and what to do during your time away.

1. Block Out Time

First and foremost, you need to plan ahead for your breaks. Think of them like meetings – something on your calendar that can’t be missed. You might have to do some trial and error before finding exactly what works best for you. Some people do well taking a 15 minute break every hour, while others may work in shorter bursts and then step away for five minutes. No matter your preference, just make sure you stick to it.

2. Get Physical

You don’t have to run five miles to enjoy the benefits of moving around throughout the day. Maybe you spend your first break stretching or doing yoga. During your next break, you could try taking a quick walk or jog. If you really want to kick things up a notch, you could try some quick workouts or  20-minute bodyweight exercises. The important thing is just to get moving, even if that means having a private dance party in your living room.

3. Make a Connection

It’s especially important to stay in touch with friends and family when you’re unable to see them in person. Even if you only have five minutes, try giving someone a call or doing a quick video chat. You could even schedule a time to talk, which would help you stick to your break schedule even more. If you can’t actually speak to someone, you could shoot them a text or write them an email.

4. Get Some Nourishment

Breaks are a perfect time for a snack, but it’s best to make it a healthy one if you can. It’s a good idea to turn to fresh fruits and vegetables, but you don’t have to feel limited to those alone. Try energizing foods like yogurt, nuts, hummus, popcorn, hard boiled eggs, and even dark chocolate. And of course, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.

5. Feed Your Mind and Soul

Try doing something that makes you happy. If you love creative hobbies, maybe you take a few minutes to draw, play music, take photos, knit, sing, or write. You could exercise your mind by putting together a puzzle or doing a brain teaser like Sudoku. If you want to immerse yourself in something, you could listen to a short TED talk or read a chapter or two of a good book.

6. Get Organized

Some people find solace in organization and cleanliness. You could use your breaks to straighten up your work area or computer files to help you be more productive. You could also tackle a project around the house, such as cleaning out a closet or organizing the garage.

7. Find a Break Buddy

Whether it’s with your significant other, roommate, child, or someone on FaceTime, try doing a quick activity with someone else. You could play a quick hand of cards, chat about non-work-related topics over a snack, or have a pretend tea party with your child.

Make sure not to bring your laptop or check your email during your breaks. Make this time just about you and whatever you need to recharge.