The 4th of March is a day to have a break without feeling guilty. I had never heard of this day before, until Abrar, our Managing Director, mentioned it to me.
But what a fantastic idea!
In a world where everyone is ‘oh so busy’ with no time to meet friends face-to-face or interact and engage with their families, I do believe you should excuse yourself from your daily responsibilities to try and take some time out today. Or at least take some time out in the near future - having been inspired by today.
And it’s not just me encouraging it.
Research in the fields of Science and Psychology have shown that a break - a brief cessation of work, helps one to maintain their physical and emotional health. It prevents ‘decision fatigue’ (a concept which will be explained later), and restores motivation. Especially for long term goals. Essentially; breaks increase productivity, creativity and help consolidate memories and improve learning. Who doesn’t want to reap all these benefits?!
Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of making decisions - particularly after a long session of decision making. A study which looked into over 225 million hours of working time showed that the average user switches between more than 300 tasks per day. And that’s just in the working day. As decision fatigue kicks in, the more decisions you make, the worse you tend to get at weighing up all the options and making an educated, research-backed choice. No matter how rational or sensible an individual is, this fatigue is unavoidable.
You know what we’re going to say next.
The best way to avoid decision fatigue?
Of course there are other things that one can do, i.e. simplify the choices made throughout the day (this can be done by having a set routine for the day so you don’t have to waste energy making decisions like when to have a tea break) but this isn’t always possible. You can focus on momentum rather than willpower - since willpower and motivation fluctuate. Nonetheless, ultimately, the best way to keep yourself mentally and physically able to look after yourself, is through having a good break.
The ‘work hard’ mentality isn’t completely effective. Employees who believe they must work 24/7 and perfect all the work that they do, will be the first to get burnt out. This time last year, the NHS also produced an article over the coffee break. In the mental health section they discussed the benefits of happier staff - more compassion is shown and a safer level of care. From representatives across the UK, it was shown that the best practice was where colleagues were well supported and championed.
You might be thinking that none of what has been discussed in this article can help you because, you don’t drink coffee! That’s okay too. There are a whole host of ways in which one can destress, unwind slightly and have a healthy break. It may take time to find what works for you, and what you enjoy, but take the time to find out. For me personally, I like to go for a walk and engage with my peers, friends and family. Some more healthy break ideas include walking clubs, healthy(!) snacking, gym, social time and quiet time.
So, on that note, go have a break, have a wander and come back to the desk which you’re inevitably sat on, to begin work feeling refreshed and better about yourself.