Actually Taking a Break

Actually Taking a Break

Do you ever feel tired or stagnant at work? Or maybe a little sluggish or brain dead? There have been a good number of studies done on taking breaks from work as it relates to your productivity. If you’re like me, you have a typical eight-to-five job and sit at a desk for the majority of the day. As someone that came from retail prior to a professional career in financial aid, I found this adjustment hard to make.

At the first school where I worked, not a single person took a break. People would sit at their desk for the full nine hours, taking personal calls if they needed to and even eating lunches at their desk. I found it hard for myself to break away because I felt guilty. I would end the day feeling more tired than I did when I worked retail, hustling around a warehouse all day. After a couple months it began to take a toll on my personal life. I did not want to do anything after work. I felt mentally and physically tired. I needed to remedy this feeling of being tired and sluggish quick!

Give Me a Break!

I found a gym on school grounds and started to break away at lunch to either lift weights, run on the treadmill, or workout on the elliptical. My energy levels changed significantly by taking that break in the middle of the day. I returned to finish the second half of my day with a new outlook. I know not everyone likes to go to the gym, let alone getting all sweaty and stinky during the workday, but there are alternatives which don’t necessarily need to be done at lunch. For example, at my current position I work with an awesome set of ladies (Karla, Rhonda and Bethany) and we take a break about mid-morning to walk around our campus to get the blood flowing. Not only does it get you physically engaged, but it’s also socially engaging.

Ways to Break Away

Is your place a lot like the first place I worked, where no one took breaks? If so, see if someone wants to take a walk with you for a good 10-15 minutes. If you’re not interested in walks, here’s a few more suggestions to help you break away:

  • Meditate. Take time to breath and clear your mind while focusing on relaxation.
  • Play a Game. We all have smart phones—download something mentally engaging and take a break. Play a game and have some fun for a bit!
  • Lend a Hand. Offering a helping hand to a coworker can help you feel socially connected, comforting and positive.
  • Goal Setting. Sit back and think about your future and what you would like it to hold. Make some daily, weekly, monthly or yearly goals.

By taking breaks throughout your day, either with or without coworkers, you may find that your place of employment feels happier, healthier and more efficient.

Mike Pearce
Financial Aid Specialist
Colorado Community College System
CAFAA Technology Chair