Because we’re a company that makes 4-wheel bikes, we focus a lot on physical health and exercise. But mental health is just as important as fitness.
Giving your mind a rest during the day is a good thing for your mental wellness. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), while a little bit of stress can actually be good for you, too much stress can be detrimental to your overall health.
Because of this, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) suggests that a 10-minute break during the workday can be extremely beneficial.
What do I do for a break?
The most important thing is to do is walk completely away from your computer or whatever it is that’s causing you stress, writes the APA. Whether it’s 10 minutes or 20 minutes, you are likely to come back with a new perspective on the stressor.
Here are some break ideas, courtesy of the CAMFT and APA:
- Go for a walk (or bike ride, if possible) – Exercise is proven to help relieve stress. If you can get outside to get some air, even better.
- Stretch – If you don’t have enough time to get a quick lap in somewhere, at least take a couple of minutes to stand up and stretch.
- Schedule some “me” time – Take your break to schedule something later in the day or week for yourself. Maybe you should schedule a massage … or a shopping trip … or dinner with the girls … or watching the game with the guys.
- Take a nap – Even a 10 minute nap can help you decompress.
- Meet up with a friend or colleague – Call a friend. Meet colleagues at the water cooler. Or, maybe combine two ideas and walk around the building with some of your co-workers.
- Try deep breathing, meditating or prayer – Whichever you prefer, they all can help you be more mindful of the stressful task you’re dealing with.
How often should I take a break?
According to research cited by the Huffington Post, work is best done when in a 90-minute cycle. So, try working for 90 minutes, then taking a short break. You may be surprised how much less stressful your day is.
What about vacations?
Those are important, too! According to a 2010 study, anticipation of an upcoming trip or vacation can help improve mental health for as much as two months in advance of the break.
According to research published in Scientific American magazine, increasing downtime has shown to not only renew concentration but potentially increase attention as well. By taking a break, you have the ability to come back to the situation or stressor with a renewed or different perspective and will improve your mental health. If you can get outside for a walk or a bike ride during your break, you’ll improve your physical health as well.