taking time out

Why it’s Important to Take Time out from Work

Spending all day, every day at work can be draining. It is important to take time out now and again. Health and safety at work requires us to take a few minutes break every hour away from screens to avoid eyestrain but what about our brains? Our mental health suffers if all we do is work, work, work.

If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, it might be because you’re in desperate need of a break away from work.

  • Making small mistakes
  • Can’t focus
  • Frequent head aches
  • Tired all the time
  • No motivation
  • Irritable
  • Overwhelm
  • Insomnia

You don’t have to go on a full-blown holiday every time you need a break. Not many of us can afford this. But taking short, more frequent breaks can work wonders for your mental health. Here are some ideas:

Take a long weekend off

Some people might need to start by actually taking the weekend off. There is a reason why weekends were invented. We need regular breaks to recharge our batteries.

Take the day off

Every now and again, book a day off. Don’t use that day to get all your non-work commitments covered. Simply do something fun and enjoyable.

Put breaks into your diary

This could be to attend an exercise class over a lunch break or maybe take a half day off here and there to energise or relax.

Go to the gym or for a walk

Maybe you have a full schedule that doesn’t allow for any spare time as you have family commitments in addition to work commitments. Book some time into your diary to go to the gym, for a walk or any other activity that you’ve always wanted to try. If it’s in your diary, it’s more likely to happen. Or take the family with you!

Cycle to work

Cycling to work can provide a wide variety of benefits. In addition to saving money and getting fitter, it’s also stress reducing as you’re not stuck on a train with a large number of other commuters or in a traffic jam going nowhere. Have a look at our previous article 5 key benefits of cycling to work.

Switch off when you leave the office

Taking a break from work could simply mean that you switch off when you leave the office. Get out of the habit of taking work home with you. Concentrate on time with your loved ones and incorporate self-care.

One of my clients, a police officer, decided to change out of his uniform at work and so he created a clear division between work and home.  You could get off a few stops earlier so that you can walk for a while so that you can allow your brain to process.  If you drive, take a walk round the block before you go through the door.

Have a hot beverage and put your feet up

If you’re just after a little break during the day, get up, make yourself a hot beverage of your choice and enjoy it in peace, mindfully. Either by your desk with the phone diverted to someone else for a few minutes (return the favour later) or go outside if the weather is nice and breathe in some fresh air. You’ll come back refreshed and re-energised.

Take your lunch break

Maybe for you it could be simply a case of stopping working through your lunch break. If you’re used to wolfing down a boring sandwich with a packet of crisps with a coffee chaser while responding to emails or proofreading that report, you’ll need to stop. Take a proper break, go outside, maybe go for a walk. For more ideas how to jazz up your lunch break, read our previous article How to improve your health and happiness with a proper lunch break.

How the Work Well Practice can help

Here at the Work Well Practice we can help with an audit of your staff’s behaviour and come up with an actionable plan that we can also help to implement. We provide workshops as well as management and employee training. Please get in touch with Sam.

To book your complimentary telephone consultation please leave your details here.

For your 10 Killer SOS Stress Management Strategies For Middle And Senior Leaders sign up here.  Included is an eGuide, infographic and MP3s.


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