When we’re at work, we’re expected to be productive all day. Our bosses will want to see us working and accomplishing tasks from 9 AM to 5 PM. But we’re not robots, and it’s impossible to be 100% productive all day every day.
We need to take a breather, too. According to ergonomics, the study of the relationship between work conditions and productivity, rest breaks are essential every 30 to 60 minutes. This refreshes our minds, eyes, and energy, so we’re maintaining our health and productivity while working.
Chances are that we’re already taking short breaks from work. But what we commonly do is pick up our phone and browse our social media feeds. But in the context of ergonomics, that’s not really considered as a break. Here are some things you can do during your short breather from work.
Workplace ergonomics involves several factors, one of which is the optimization of your equipment. If you don’t have a well-optimized work station, as in the right height of chair and desk, you’re at risk of developing strains, pains, and injuries. Lower back pain is the most common, affecting over one million people in the workplace every year.
First and foremost, you need a good office chair and a desk with the right height. That should help counter the risk of developing back, shoulder, wrist, and neck injuries. It will also be helpful for you to do some exercises such as neck and shoulder rotations and back stretches. Every 30-60 minutes, take 5 minutes to do basic desk exercises to relieve vital body parts from tension.
Take a walk
Even just a two-lap walk around the office can significantly boost your energy and benefit your health. Walking increases the flow of oxygen in your body while generating mood-boosting hormones to help you energize. Head outside and walk around the block. Or you can walk indoors and explore other areas in your office. Who knows, but you might even discover rooms you haven’t seen before. It will help you master your surroundings — a.k.a. you’ll know where all the fire exit signage and private areas are (just in case they come in handy someday).
Have a snack
A great way to spend a short break from work is to head to the cafeteria and have a snack! Or you can eat them at your desk while watching funny and uplifting videos on the Internet (if that’s allowed in your office, that is). But make sure you’re careful with what you eat. Junk food and sweets may sound tempting, but they can cause your energy levels to crash. Instead, go for brain-boosting snacks such as blueberries, leafy greens, and nuts.
Daydream about your career goals
Daydreaming in the office might not sound like a good idea. But it’s a great way to make the most out of your short break. But we do warn you not to daydream about the beach or a long vacation, though. That might make you less motivated to work. Instead, daydream about your professional life and career goals. Where do you want to be five years from now? How do you plan on getting there? Just reminding yourself of the reason you’re working so hard will give you the motivation you need to carry on with your day.
Everyone experiences stress and fatigue at work. But despite the loads of tasks you have to accomplish, take a breather and allow yourself to relax even just for five minutes. This is not slacking off. In fact, you’re helping your mind and body redeem itself so that you can be more productive.