Where and how we work has changed significantly for many of us in recent years. For those who have the opportunity to work remotely, this has presented a myriad of benefits—among those being time and money saved, more time with family, and opportunities to discover new interests or hobbies.
On the flip side, our “new normal” has at times presented some challenges. Time spent connecting with peers, having lunch with friends, or even simply moving around the office occasionally felt trivial at the time, but we can now see that taking those periodic breaks helped us cope with and manage workday stress.
While these can all still be achieved in our new work environments, they often require a degree of intentionality. Here are some tips for taking breaks from work to move, refocus, and connect with others.
Take a movement break
We’ve all heard of the “afternoon slump”—that point during the midday when we find ourselves either staring blankly at our screens or frantically scrolling on our favorite coffee shop’s app looking for a quick pick-me-up. While a cup of java can do the trick, adding a little movement into your day can provide a similar boost of energy. Commit to taking a short break from your work and moving at least once every hour. Whether it be squats at your desk, seated stretches, or somewhere in between, any form of mobility will work. The key is that it leaves you feeling reinvigorated!
At Progressive, our fitness team offers several ways to fit wellness breaks into your workday (including 10-minute yoga, barre, and even dance breaks). These offerings, which are available in real-time and on-demand, provide not only a quick pick-me-up but can also add a dose of fun to your day!
Another effective way to power through the afternoon slump is by simply going for a walk. A midday walk can provide a boost of energy, inspire creativity, and help balance out your mood, which, in turn, can improve productivity.
If your schedule allows, try sneaking in a 20 – 30-minute walk. But even a short 5 – 10-minute walk around your neighborhood can provide you with the benefits of getting outside and moving. Getting some midday sun exposure can also provide a host of benefits—such as improved sleep, which can have a direct impact on improved cognitive function and job satisfaction.
Try a meditation break
Meditation is another way to help yourself reset during your workday. Meditation can help you cope with and reduce stress by refocusing your attention on something calming. Additionally, it can promote creativity, confidence, and increased focus by reframing your thoughts.
Our fitness team at Progressive helps make meditation accessible to all via their meditation breaks. These guided meditations, which are about 10 minutes long, range from topics such as improving self-talk and focus to strengthening self-compassion. Countless meditation tips and resources can also be found on YouTube or by doing an internet search.
Stay connected virtually
One of the things I miss most about working in the office daily is the people. I thoroughly enjoyed not only the energy of being around others, but also the conversations that would naturally take place. For many, the absence of these conversations has been one of the greatest challenges as we’ve transitioned to hybrid and remote work environments.
Luckily, there are ways we can connect and network with others in our new virtual environments:
- Schedule check-in calls: “Check-in” sounds so formal. Think of these as informal ways to regularly connect with peers—no agenda needed. These can be as short as 15 minutes or you can make them longer if time permits—the key is to be intentional in making these connections. Make these check-ins a recurring event on your calendar.
- Plan a lunch: If you’re lucky enough to live close to your colleagues, make plans to occasionally meet for lunch. If distance is a barrier, do lunch virtually! Wherever or however you choose to meet, the important thing is the time spent together.
Hopefully these tips have provided an understanding of the benefits of taking a break at work. Learn more about some of the health and wellness benefits available at Progressive.