Working behind a computer for most of the day can be exhausting, and taking breaks is essential to stay productive and avoid burnout. However, it’s important to note that not all breaks are fulfilling. While browsing through your favorite sites or playing games on your phone might seem like a quick and easy way to boost energy, it can actually leave you feeling more drained than before.
To take fulfilling breaks to boost energy levels effectively and recharge your emotional battery, try making a few simple adjustments to your daily routine. Engaging in a relaxing activity—such as physical exercise or listening to music—can help you de-stress and improve your focus when you return to work.
By incorporating these types of activities into your breaks, you can make the most of your time off and improve your productivity and overall well-being. Remember that taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity and avoiding burnout, so don’t hesitate to prioritize self-care throughout your workday.
Why Do We Need to Take Breaks During the Day?
Taking a break during a long day is quite beneficial for employee productivity and stress relief. When you take a short break from work, you allow your body to rest and build up energy levels that can help you stay productive throughout the rest of the day.
Research suggests that taking short breaks can enhance workplace productivity, refresh your brain, and prevent burnout and stress due to workload. This improves your work quality, performance, overall health, and job satisfaction and allows you to engage at your workplace better.
Taking a break helps you focus better and makes you more creative and energetic, allowing you to work better without burning out. Incessant load on the brain from working too long can affect your memory and focus adversely, and breaks allow you to mitigate that.
According to research, people who take frequent breaks during the day are more likely to be productive than those who work without a break. It is ideal to take hourly breaks and a fifteen-minute break every few hours. You may even take a short five-minute break when you complete one task. Frequent breaks also have several health benefits, including improved physical health, sharper memory, and stress relief.
Which Breaks Are Unfulfilling?
Not all breaks boost energy. Some of them drain you—like playing a game on your mobile phone or wasting time scrolling through social media, especially after spending the whole day behind a screen. Healthy breaks include movement breaks where you can take a walk or jog around, or simply relaxing activities like reading or listening to music.
Too much screen time can tire your eyes and cause your prefrontal cortex to engage in decision-making skills that can further exhaust you mentally and physically. This is why social media breaks or online surfing are not efficient ways to boost energy levels during a hectic day of work.
Taking way too many breaks can be detrimental too. If you begin to procrastinate under the guise of taking a break, it will eventually impact your work and performance, leading to more stress. An easy way to counter this is to follow the two-minute rule.
It states that any task that can be done in under two minutes should be completed immediately before you take a break. When you break down each task into two-minute mini-tasks, it can become quite easy to get your work done without stalling or procrastinating.
How to Boost Energy Levels at Work
So what kind of breaks boost energy? Any activity that involves you resting your body—i.e. closing your eyes, meditating, taking a nap, or physical activity—can be effective in replenishing your mind and body and boosting energy levels.
Taking a breather can be beneficial not just for you, but also for your organization, employer, and your work-life balance. Here are five ways to boost your energy by taking a fulfilling break during a long, arduous day of work.
Movement breaks include taking a walk, connecting with nature, or doing small tasks like clearing up your workstation. These breaks can increase your alertness and attention and can positively impact your executive functioning. Even a little change in scenery can help you stay focused and motivated.
These breaks involve doing creative activities like daydreaming, doodling, or learning something new. This way, you can give your prefrontal cortex some rest and engage the right side of your brain. These breaks can help produce dopamine and improve your memory.
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Hitting pause and getting away from the hubbub of daily life can include resting, taking a nap, enjoying a healthy snack, or listening to music. These activities can aid in stress relief and can help you feel more rested and productive when you resume work.
These breaks may not be great for everyone. People who have low social energies tend to avoid socializing frequently. But if you’re someone who enjoys human connection frequently, you can call up a friend or chat up a colleague.
This can be very important if you work remotely and have minimal human contact. The feeling of connecting to another person can improve your mood and alleviate stress.
Plan Your Breaks
Making an elaborate plan consisting of different types of activities you can do on a break can be very helpful. Create to-do lists every day with no more than three major tasks for the day.
These can be the most important tasks of the day followed by low-priority tasks. You can include your break activities within these lists and even schedule them for more efficacy and nourishment.
How to Avoid Fatigue at Work
The sole reason for engaging in healthy breaks from work is to manage your energy levels so that you do not feel stressed, exhausted, or unmotivated after a long day of work. People often carry this exhaustion into the next day, making work even harder. Here’s how you can manage your energy levels to feel fresh and motivated every day.
Improve Your Sleep Quality
Sleep significantly impacts your overall health. It impacts your physical body, energy levels, and intellectual function. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to be less productive and alert at work. It can also influence your mood, resulting in tense exchanges with colleagues.
During slumber, your body restores and conserves energy that you can use the next day to carry out daily chores. If you have trouble sleeping or your sleep quality has been low, you may feel tired and fatigued all day, unable to perform simple everyday tasks.
You might feel drowsy and unable to focus on important tasks, leading to unsatisfactory performance. Lack of sleep may lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity.
It is advised for adults to get eight to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to rejuvenate the mind. You may get even more sleep through short naps throughout the day. Sleep is the best way to boost energy naturally.
If you find yourself struggling with daytime sleepiness due to bad sleep quality, you can try taking short naps to refresh your mind and boost your energy levels. These naps can range from five minutes to twenty-five minutes and can help you clear your head and feel fresh and alert.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Food is the main source of energy for the human body. Eating the right kind of food can help you attain and maintain high energy levels throughout the day. Foods and drinks like coffee, sugar, candies, sugary drinks, and carbohydrates can give you an instant boost in energy levels, but the effect wears off quickly, leaving you feeling tired.
The best way to conserve energy is to eat short, frequent meals throughout the day instead of having three big meals. This means that you can have something light for your lunch break followed by a healthy snack like a granola bar or salad after an hour or so.
Stay away from processed foods like carbohydrates, and make it a habit to have fruits and vegetables in your diet daily. You can also include whole grains in your diet to control blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
Fatty, sugary food like fast food, desserts, or junk food can cause inflammation, which can lead to poor quality of life and low energy levels. Foods that fight inflammation can be great for improving energy levels in your body. These include yogurt, fresh berries, bananas, spinach, and cinnamon.
Control your intake of caffeine, and only use it when you need a boost in energy levels—i.e. right before an important meeting or presentation. Too much caffeine can lead to insomnia which will disrupt your sleep cycle and lead to fatigue and feeling sluggish.
If you enjoy alcohol, you should limit your consumption such that you’re not having any alcohol during the day. Alcohol consumption can lead to blood sugar spikes which are followed by lethargy and drowsiness.
Drink ample water. It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day because water is the main component of blood and is essential for the transport of nutrients within the body. Without enough water, your body is less likely to absorb energy from food. It is advised to drink eight glasses of water every day to stay fresh and alert.
Taking short breaks throughout your workday can boost your productivity and motivation. Even if you’re strapped for time, a quick break as short as a minute can work wonders for your mental health and emotional well-being. So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed with work, don’t push yourself to the brink of burnout.
Instead, step away from your computer and take a breather. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a few deep breaths, or a quick stretch, you’ll come back feeling refreshed, recharged, and ready to tackle your tasks with renewed focus and more energy too!