Building wellness breaks into your packed days can not only help you think more clearly and be more creative, it will also make you happier. You’ll notice a shift in your thoughts, emotions and how you relate to yourself and to others.
You don’t need to think of these breaks in terms of longer chunks of time, like a trip to the gym or a day off. I like to think of them as wellness micro breaks throughout the day.
6 surprising ways to take wellness breaks every day
With so many apps out there that remind you to get up and move, look away or take a break, let’s consider some not-so-in-your-face ideas.
1. Visual cues for micro breaks
While it’s awesome that your phone beeps when it’s time to take a break to breathe, you should be able to fully breathe in and out between phone beeps, and use your breath for micro breaks. Think about it. We sit at our desk hunched over, even physically limiting our ability to breathe fully. And on top of that, we often stress over something.
Little visual cues can remind you to readjust your posture or think of breathing deeply intentionally. For example, set your phone and electronics passwords to something that reminds you of breathing intentionally. This way, every time you walk back to your desk or need to unlock your electronics, you’ll be prompted to check your posture and breathe intentionally for a minute.
When you breathe well, you can reset your mind and invite better prana (life force), energy flow into your body.
2. Moving to pause
I like to walk to the kitchen not because I need something but because I need a break. If you’re back in the office, take a few minutes here and there to walk around your floor, use the stairs to go to the top floor of your building, then down to the bottom. Or simply walk to your car and back a few times. If you’re at home, walk around your block.
This kind of getting away from your desk is not just about moving. It’s about giving yourself a break. A real break. The kind without a phone call, walking meeting or email check.
3. Recovery timeout
One of my favorite places to get a micro break is in the bathroom. I know it sounds odd but if you have people around you, the bathroom, garage or right before you pull into your garage may be the only places where you can give yourself a timeout.
When I was doing health consultations, I would often tell my clients to spend a few minutes quietly in their cars a few blocks away from home before pulling into the garage.
Walking away will especially serve you well if you’re dealing with something stressful. Whether you head to your car, bathroom or outside, be there quietly, just breathing in and out of your belly. Take deep breaths into your abdomen and deep breaths out. Make your exhales longer than your inhales to help relax your nervous system.
4. Finding silence
Everything you come in contact with during the day is a stimulus. According to ayurveda, the misuse or overuse of our senses can be a source of disease. And when we’re always on, we’re constantly overstimulated.
You don’t realize how much stimuli you take in throughout the day and how draining it can be for your brain to process them all. For example, it may show up as ringing in your ears by the end of the day, a possible sign of nervous system depletion.
So, instead of taking one more call in your car or blasting the radio, consider driving in silence. I love to use my commute time for recovery.
5. Eating to reset
Ok, this is not a micro break, but it’s too important to skip. Eating helps you build wellness breaks into your day in more than one way. For one, it makes you step away from work but you can only reap its benefits if you’re eating the right foods at the right time in the right setting. Lunch is a major energy booster, giving you the foundation for a productive and creative afternoon. Block your calendar for lunch on the earlier side of the lunch period, even if you can only spare 30 minutes.
6. Giving yourself permission
This is a big one. It’s so easy to get sucked into wanting to conquer the world and feeling guilty about stepping away. The biggest favor you can do to yourself is to recognize that there are times when good enough is good enough. There are times when saying no is what you need. When you say no to something, you inevitably say yes to something else. Choose your battles wisely. Create wellness breaks by not doing something or by giving yourself a B on something instead of an A. It’s ok. Your body will thank you for it.
Making space for wellness micro breaks during the day is a form of self-care. It may be less exhilarating than getting a nice, long massage but the benefits add up. Are you in?
Image by Engin Akyurt, Pexels