Scientific research has found that taking regular breaks can dramatically improve our overall levels of productivity.
With that in mind, we decided to compile a list of 20 ways to effectively disengage from the task in hand and give the brain a minute or two to refresh itself.
1. Get some fresh air
There are a whole host of health benefits associated with getting lots of fresh air; including a sharper mind, clearer thought processes and a boosted sense of morale.
2. Learn something new
Google is an infinity source of knowledge on every possible subject you could think. Make use of it and expand your knowledge by endeavouring to learn something new every time you need a quick break. Your team mates will be thanking you at the next pub quiz!
Therapeutic colouring books have become extremely popular with people seeking effective ways to tune their minds into something creative.
4. Read some poetry
Studies into how the brain reacts to reading poetry have found that, "contemplating poetic imagery and the multiple layers of meanings in poems activates different areas of the brain"; making it the perfect break time activity.
5. Step away from your screen
There are some shocking statistics for the amount of time we spend glued to our screens, for both work and leisure. There are also lots of depressing statistics for just how bad this is for our health. Make a point of getting away from your computer and putting down your phone every once in a while.
Circulate some blood around sedentary muscles, including the brain, and reap the long term benefits of increasing flexibility.
7. Listen to a favourite song
Listening to music can have a powerful effect on our mood, transporting us somewhere else for a minute or two. Just the job for a quick break.
8. Start a diary
Get writing about your life, your feelings, events that are going on in the world and start to notice how it benefits your mood. Journaling creates a positive outlet for your inner most thoughts and desires, which it is better to release than to keep bottled up inside.
9. Have a proper hot drink break
Instead of a quick reboil of the kettle and whacking a teabag in a mug, make your hot drink break into something a bit more meaningful. Make a hot drink that you really want to drink and one that is going to benefit you when you go back to what you were doing.
10. Contact a friend or family member
People reminiscing on their lives very rarely talk of material things, they talk of the people and animals that have made their life special. Use breaks to keep in touch with loved ones; these little snippets of conversation, or a message here and there, go a long way and can really boost your mood as well as your productivity.
If you've got 5 minutes to yourself have a goofy dance with or without music to get your blood pumping. It's also good to have a little laugh at yourself doing it,
12. Cuddle a pet
Studies have shown that cuddling animals relieves stress, as if we didn't already know that!
As long as they don't become too regular, napping is an effective way to take a break and enable us to keep on top of busy schedules.
14. Consciously look out the window
We so often stare absentmindedly out of windows, but how often do we really acknowledge what we are seeing. Next time you need a break and are near a window, consciously look at the clouds and the scenery in your view.
Soaking in a deep, hot, soapy bath (or however you like your baths) is the ultimate break that you can schedule in for the end of the day, or weekend maybe. Doing things that relax you in the evening before you go to bed will improve your sleep quality and your productivity for the following day.
16. Visit a place that makes you feel happy and relaxed
Being completely present in your surroundings is helped a lot if the place you're in is beautiful, or holds a special significance for you. Seek out these "happy places" as much as possible.
Good old breathing advice again. That's because it works and is available to all of us all of the time. Start making your breath really work for you.
18. Go to an exercise class
Exercising is one of the best kinds of breaks. Take note from your 6 year old self and run riot on your next break. Failing that join a class where you can meet people and learn fitness skills.
19. Be quiet and still for a few moments
Simple, yet oh so effective.
20. Focus outside of yourself
You are only physically able to focus on one thought at time, which is weird when you think about it, now what were you thinking about before. See. Even though your brain flits from one thought to the next, often in quick succession, it can only ever be one at a time.
Use this knowledge to your advantage, when you feel like your brain is overthinking something, or you want to snap out of negative thought patterns. Focus on things external to you, then notice how you have interrupted your previous thoughts and the emotions attached to them.