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The Quintessential Health Blog

Give Yourself a Break

In a world that demands us to be productive, goal-oriented, adaptive, and high achievers at work and at home, being unoccupied might seem strange and unnatural. Yet, while it may appear contradictory, taking frequent breaks throughout the day is necessary to avoid burnout and high stress levels. Taking purposeful breaks increases productivity, performance, focus, motivation, and overall physical and mental well-being. Here are some examples of purposeful breaks that will help you recharge:

1. Going for a walk:

  • No matter how short the stroll, get outdoors and get some fresh air. Moving your body increases endorphins while lowering stress. It can also provide the opportunity to step away and change scenery from work demands and allow you to organize your thoughts.

2. Stretch:

  • Stretching will assist to relieve stress by reducing muscle tension. Stretching has been demonstrated to enhance serotonin levels, regulate our mood, reduce stress, and generally make us feel better. In particular, progressive muscle relaxation is an effective technique for relaxing muscles and reducing tension.

3. Listen to music:

  • Listening to music has several advantages, including improved mood, mental alertness, and attentiveness. Simply hearing a song that reminds you of a special person or place can boost levels of dopamine while decreasing levels of cortisol.

4. Meditation and Deep Breathing:

  • Meditation can be used for relaxation, stress reduction, and overall well-being. Taking a break to mediate can increase attention and clear the mind of jumbled thoughts that may accumulate throughout the day. Incorporating deep breathing exercises with mediation can provide immediate relief from stress and restore calmness.

5. Get Creative:

  • Taking a break from more linear and rational work to engage in creative activities such as sketching or journaling can be beneficial to one's mental health. Creative activities can help develop mindfulness and ease anxious and unpleasant thoughts.

-Written by Shaila Alvarez, M.A.

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