Working from home sounds luxurious, in theory. But in reality, the lines between work and home can become overwhelmingly blurred. If you don’t make it a point to take intermittent breaks throughout the day, you could end up becoming the person that rolls out of bed and onto their laptop, eventually falling asleep at night mid-email.
It can be hard to take breaks in the first place, and it can also be hard not to take breaks that turn from 30 minutes to “oh yeah, I should get back to work” with drool falling off your cheek. How does one master the art of work-from-home break-taking?
Here are a few ways you can step away without jeopardizing your productivity and instead, re-energize yourself.
Need to get laundry done? Work break. Need to set up your dinner in the slow cooker? Work break. Need to vacuum the living room? Work break. Taking a quick break to get housework done gives you a chance to kill two birds with one stone. Put your mind on something else, recharge that noggin, and still be productive crossing off chores from your to-do list.
Work (out) from home
Now that normalcy is no longer actually normal, there are even more at-home workout options than before. Platforms like Peerfit give you countless options for live or on-demand virtual workouts, ranging from quick 20-minute workouts to a 90-minute yoga session. Take a “lunch” and indulge in some physical activity.
According to this study, exercise can give you immediate benefits, after even a quick workout, for cognitive processing. In other words - even a thirty-minute workout can make you more productive at work for the rest of the day.
Set an alarm for mindfulness
Apps like Headspace and Calm can help guide you through a mindfulness session that you probably need during the workday more than you think. Always going, going, going, especially from home when your personal and professional life blend together, can be unhealthy. Take a break and meditate, listen to a story, or just do nothing.
Walk away, sit in a comfortable spot, shut the blinds, and escape. Set an alarm so you don’t escape too far or fall asleep. But really take the time to be intentional and train your brain to focus on your breathing and whatever guided meditation you choose.
Take a quick walk
According to this article in the New York Times, “Standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday could lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention, and even dull hunger pangs.”
Especially for creatives, going on a walk can completely rejuvenate and get your creative juices flowing again. Uninterrupted sitting for hours is proven to be increasingly bad for your health and is easily combated with intermittent walk breaks. Set an alarm on your phone a few times a day to remind you to go walk. Keep a journal close by to record how you feel on days without walks and days with walks. This will help motivate you to keep up the habit and commit to taking breaks. And if you can’t seem to find the time to escape, try a walking meeting. Again, two birds, one stone.
Work plus rest equals success. We can only run on ‘E’ for so long -- taking breaks, especially while working from home, is imperative to your health and productivity. When you feel guilty for taking some moments to yourself, remember that there are many benefits to walking away, and they can contribute to your work even more.