Whether you’re dealing with frantic shoppers trying to cross people off their giving list, you’re nose-to-nose with travelers who are trying to reach their family to get their celebrations started, or anything in between, one thing is certain: The holidays are a hectic time of year.
This season isn’t all about silver bells and Jolly ‘Ole St. Nick. This season is about becoming a workhorse to get your business out of the red and into the black for the close of the year.
While balancing the stress you have on your personal plate this time of year with the stress induced by your job, taking a break might seem like an unlikely possibility. But, it’s just what your body needs.
Tim Kreider said it well in his New York Times article, when he said, “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as Vitamin D is to the body, as deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets … It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
So, when should you take these critical breaks? More often than you might think, even during the holiday madness.
Break Mid-Morning and Mid-Afternoon
If you don’t want to break your day up into bite sized chunks, try scheduling two simple breaks throughout the day. Book 15-minute pauses on your calendar and make it known that during those time periods, you will not be talking about or looking at work.
Block out 15-minutes in the middle of your morning for a mental break, and then again around 3 p.m., when studies show you (and everyone else) is least productive.
Take a Break to Nourish Yourself
If you’re not fueled up with nutritious foods, you’re not fueled up to work. Although you might start your day with a well-rounded breakfast, you need to keep that nutritious momentum throughout your workday.
Use your mid-morning break for a healthy snack, then make sure to take a longer break to feed yourself a nutritious lunch. Ditch the idea of fast food in lieu of something that’ll give your brain the fuel it needs to keep making good decisions throughout the day and your body to keep up your energy levels.
Take a Break to Move
Did you know that something as quick as a 20-minute stroll can have a dramatic impact on the blood flow to your brain? That additional blood flow can help boost creativity and improve brain function both in the immediate and long-term future, according to research by Dr. Chuck Hillman from the University of Illinois.
Photo credit: Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/your-brain-after-a-20-minute-walk-2014-2
Are You Taking Enough Breaks?
It can feel counterproductive to take breaks but the reality is that stepping away from work here and there can actually make you more productive in the long run. You don’t have to leave your desk for a full hour lunch to get the full restoration benefits of a lunch break, but you do need to give yourself that mental rest for at least 15-minutes.
Give your brain and your body a break by scheduling these types of work pauses throughout the day. By putting them on your calendar as a to-do list item will help ensure you stay energetic and focused throughout your workday.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.