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Ashlee (she/her)
Ashlee (she/her)

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Don't Forget to Take Breaks

This post is also over on my personal blog.

Do you want to know what I most often forget to do when I'm working really hard? I forget to eat. That's a funny thought at first. Like, how do you forget something so vital to your existence? (I have zero ideas, so please tell me if you know the answer. My stomach will appreciate it.)

My point is, I get it. It's hard to take breaks and for various reasons. We often feel a ton of pressure to get all of our work done as quickly as possible. Guess what? It's never done. Ever. If you work in a food service business, there are always people wanting food. If you work on a support call line, there are always people needing help. If you write software for a living, there are always people asking for more features or telling you how you need to do better.

What do these examples have in common? They're focused on other people. Most of us are happy giving our time and effort to others and we don't want to let them down. If you're like me, you try your hardest to keep everyone happy, and might even put others' happiness and well-being before your own.

Let's do less of that. Take care of yourself too. It's not one bit selfish to take the time you need to do whatever it is that'll help you refresh (as long as you aren't hurting anyone or yourself!). You'll be in much better shape to do you your job effectively.

Here are a few of my own suggestions you might want to try when you need a break:

  • Take a 5-minute walk outside or around the office
  • Stand up and do a few stretches by your desk
  • Have a snack (or the meal you forgot about 😅)
  • Spend a few minutes just focusing on your breathing
  • Drink a glass of water or a cup of tea

If you have any of your own suggestions you'd like to share, please do leave them in the comments or send me a tweet.

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Image by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash.

Top comments (5)

saurabhmahajan profile image
Saurabh Mahajan

For this exact reason I use WorkRave
It reminds me of breaks that I need to take during work. It is free. Give it a try.

mykezero profile image

Gave it a try and I'm definitely liking it so far!

ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her)

Ooo! I think I need to try this out. I'm too good at ignoring the reminders on my watch at this point. 😉

timothymcgrath profile image
Timothy McGrath

I used to be really bad about this. But I now try to work on smaller tasks to completion, and then take a short break.

I've also integrated a 40-minute walk at a nearby park while listening to an audiobook into the middle of my workday. It has really helped me to recharge for the second half of my day.

ashleemboyer profile image
Ashlee (she/her)

That's awesome! There's a small park near my office. I want to try walking around it a couple of times a week since I didn't take the chance to do it last summer.