Make Time for Break Time

Women looking like she needs a break

 Are you one of those people that don’t take breaks?  Perhaps you think you don’t have time, or you just have too much on that a break gets in the way of you achieving your to-do-list/goals for the day.

According to the 2021 NZ Southern Cross Workplace Wellbeing Report, 56% of employees took less annual leave than the previous year.  It’s no surprise Kiwis spent a fair part of the year in lockdowns due to COVID-19.  This in addition to employees not taking regular breaks during the workday is one way that can contribute to them heading down the burnout pathway.

To maintain a healthier life balance, it is important to take regular breaks, which includes annual leave, and regular mini-breaks during the workday.

A lack of breaks can contribute to the burnout factor as we are not allowing time for our mind, body, and soul to have mini pauses to re-energise and rejuvenate ourselves.  For employees or those self-employed to be productive and optimally perform, breaks are an essential part of any day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

One of the challenges within a corporate work environment is that meetings are back-to-back, not allowing transition time for employees to move from one meeting to the next both physically and mentally, whether in person or remotely.  Simple acts of being late for a meeting due to another running over, or a negative outcome from a previous meeting can flow on to the next meeting, create disengagement and cause stress and pressure for your employees.  Who said meetings need to start on the hour, especially if you work in a multi-story building, why not start them at quarter to or past the hour?

Working from home can add additional burdens from having to juggle children’s needs and expectations to not having a dedicated quiet space to work from.

After finishing all the daily meetings there is a list of additional tasks to action, emails or texts to respond to and phone calls to return, generally with a very limited number of hours remaining in the day. Oh, and did I mention there’s all that stuff you added to the to-do-list which still requires some attention.  It’s no wonder employees are becoming exhausted and long-term burning out.

Studies show taking a break is essential to: 

  • higher productivity
  • creativity
  • improved concentration
  • mood stability
  • efficiency

Avoiding breaks can unintentionally cause harm to our physical being over time such as:

  • dehydrating ourselves through not drinking during the day (we’re way too busy for that) which reduces our brain functionality
  • reducing energy and vitality through lack of food nourishment
  • reducing our connection through socialisation, which can create a feeling of isolation
  • physical strain on our body like stiffness, tension and stagnation due to loss of movement

 How can you create a break?

We need to accept that a 10-minute break improves the quality of our work output and doesn’t hinder us.  If we’re not committed to honour our own health and well-being as a priority, we can expect that after a while just like a car without oil our engine (aka your body) will seize up.

Taking a break is easier than you expect; all you need to do is schedule a time in your diary. When the alarm goes off, treat the alarm/appointment the same as you would any other meeting i.e. get up and walk away from your workspace.

It isn’t ideal that travel is limited at the moment; this shouldn’t be the reason not to take a break.  Trade your overseas travel for local instead and go, be and do something you’ve never done before.

I wonder if you don’t make time today to have good health, what will be the long-term cost to your career, family, relationships, finances, and most of all your health.  Will you be able to live the life you’ve dreamt of if you are health compromised?  Prevent yourself from burning out today, schedule that 10-minute break now, or even better a well-deserved holiday.

If you feel like you need extra support in making these changes, don't hesitate to reach out. Book in a time to chat with Hana or follow her on: Facebook  Instagram or LinkedIn


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