Self-care Week: Are you taking proper breaks in your day?
Wednesday, 18 November · 2 min read

When life gets busy, it can be easy to forget to take time out to relax. But taking breaks is crucial to your overall health and wellbeing as they give you a chance to clear your mind and focus on yourself.

At the start of the week, we asked: Do you take proper breaks from work during the day, and if so, how many?

Think about your answer and whether the breaks you take leave you feeling refreshed.

Taking regular breaks can prevent the build-up of stress, which can lead to burnout and a feeling of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion. This, in turn, can affect your performance.

And when you do take a break, it’s important to take a proper one. This means actually relaxing rather than filling your time with other tasks like laundry or cleaning. A proper break should involve an activity you enjoy doing and that helps you unwind.

Here are some ways to make the most of your breaks:

1. Keep it short
A break doesn’t need to take up a lot of time. Taking a few minutes out of your routine will help you feel calmer. Try reading a book or magazine to take your mind off any stressful task.

2. Get active
You don’t need to be sitting down to feel relaxed. Go for a walk or practice yoga or pilates to help clear your mind.

3.Don’t skip lunch
Changes to your eating habits, such as skipping lunch, is a sign you need to take a break. Set aside time to eat a balanced meal. If you're at home, why not try cooking a new recipe?

4. Tap into your creative side
Focusing your mind on a creative project can help you feel more calm. Try drawing, baking, knitting or dancing. Remember, it’s about enjoying yourself and not the finished product.

5. Get out in nature
Spending time in the countryside, your local park or garden can have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing. Focus your attention on your surroundings, the animals, trees and plants that you see.

6. Switch off
If you're spending most of your working day at a computer or using technology, try switching off, even for a short period of time. Set aside time in your day where you don’t check your phone and do some of the ideas listed above instead.

Quote of the day

If you feel 'burnout' setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself.

Dalai Lama, spiritual leader

How to breathe to help you relax