Short breaks have been shown to increase your productivity and help you concentrate as you work through a longer task. In the moment, it’s easy to scan Facebook or Twitter, surf the net, or grab another coffee, but there are healthier ways to give yourself a boost. Next time you find yourself about to take a break, try one of these healthier alternatives:
Work break: Walk
Set a timer or put on your favorite timed playlist and go for a stroll. You can walk around your office if it’s big enough, take a stroll around the block, or go up and down stairs in your building. If you work near a mall, hospital, or other building with long corridors, you can probably map out a few different indoor routes. If you have a tracker, count how many steps you can reach during your break.
Work break: Meditate
Meditation is a perfect way to time-out between tasks. Guided meditations are especially well-suited for work breaks because they require little (no) preparation and you can listen to them anywhere. Find a selection of meditations between 2-10 minutes long on Lift; we even have a special meditation guide by Buddhify designed for work breaks.
Work break: Stretch
Simply moving your muscles will get your blood pumping and give you a healthy mental and physical change of pace. Stretching has many health benefits, including that it slows the release of stress hormones. This makes stretching an ideal break for an anxious afternoon or for you to do after completing a stressful task. You can also try some stretches from our office chair yoga guide, which has yoga-inspired poses for stretching your neck, arms, legs, feet, back, chest, and more.
Work break: Play a brain game
Nerdy games such as mental math, sudoku, memory games, crossword puzzles, and online games including Lumosity make fun work breaks that have the added benefit of improving your cognition.
Work break: Boost Your Knowledge
Keep flashcards at your desk and take five minute study breaks throughout the day. You can use flashcards to expand your vocabulary, learn a new language before a summer trip, practice world capitals, or even memorize work-related knowledge that can help you grow in your career.
Work break: Snack on Veggies
If you’re going to nibble, go for fresh vegetables. For the least food prep, buy baby carrots, snap peas, edamame, and grape tomatoes. With a little more work, you can cut up your own broccoli, zucchini, cauliflower, celery, bell peppers, and cucumbers, which are perfect for dipping in a healthy dressing, hummus, or peanut butter.
Work Break: Do Desk Pushups
Behavior researcher BJ Fogg does pushups before every trip to the bathroom. You can pick up a similar muscle-building habit by doing air squats, wall (or desk) pushups, or pull-ups (if you have a pull-up bar) throughout the day, too.
Work Break: Perform Eye Stretches
Keep your eyes healthy by staring away from the computer screen once in a while. It’s important to give your eyes many breaks throughout the day. Every hour or so, turn away from the screen and move your eyes up/down and left/right. Another great exercise is to stare at objects in the distance for a few seconds.