Working from home has become the new norm for many of you, offering numerous advantages like eliminating the daily commute and giving you the freedom to work in your pajamas. However, you might also face challenges such as staying productive and focused when you’re in the same space all day.
One crucial aspect of maintaining productivity and mental well-being when working from home is taking regular breaks. It’s all too easy to use your breaks to catch up on household chores or zone out in front of the TV. While relaxing is essential, you can also make the most of your breaks to recharge your mind and body, helping you return to work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your tasks.
In this article, I will help you through the importance of taking breaks and share a list of 10 things you can do during your breaks to stay productive and refreshed.
The importance of taking breaks when working from home
Taking breaks might seem counterintuitive when you’re trying to stay productive, but in reality, it’s a vital part of maintaining your well-being and efficiency. When you take short breaks throughout your workday, you give your mind and body a chance to recharge. This helps you maintain focus and increases your overall productivity. It’s also beneficial for your mental health, as it provides an opportunity to step back from work-related tasks.
Sometimes, stepping away from a challenge can give you the space needed to find a solution or develop a fresh approach. When you return to your work after a break, you’ll likely find yourself feeling more motivated and energized. That, in truth, is what it is all about.
In addition to these immediate benefits, taking breaks is also crucial in preventing burnout. Burnout can sneak up on you, especially when working from home, as the lines between work and personal life blur. By consciously setting aside time for breaks, you’re safeguarding your mental and emotional well-being. This, in turn, will help you stay engaged, passionate, and creative in your work. And stop you from feeling lazy and demotivated.
So, remember that taking breaks isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Embrace the importance of breaks and integrate them into your work-from-home routine to enjoy a happier, healthier, and more productive work-life balance.
Top 10 activities to do when taking breaks while working from home
When working from home, it’s essential to make the most of your breaks by engaging in activities that refresh and re-energize you. I have compiled a list of 10 activities that not only help you unwind but also boost your productivity, creativity, and overall well-being. Let’s explore these activities and see how they can transform your work-from-home experience.
Get some fresh air and connect with nature
Spending time outdoors offers numerous benefits, including reduced stress, improved mood, and increased mental clarity. Setting goals for reaching either 5.000 steps or 10.000 steps when working from home can be beneficial for your overall well-being.
During your break, consider the following short outdoor activities:
- Take a walk around the block
- Sit outside and soak in the sunlight
- Water your plants or tend to your garden
Engage in a creative or artistic activity
Creative pursuits can help relieve stress and improve your mental health. Consider trying:
- Drawing, painting, or sketching
- Writing a short story or poem
- Crafting or DIY projects
Stretch and move your body
Physical movement during breaks is essential to prevent stiffness and maintain energy levels. Try these simple activities:
- Stretching exercises targeting major muscle groups
- A quick 5-minute workout or yoga session
- Walking up and down the stairs
- Try the Arnold Schwarzenegger home workout
Connect with coworkers through virtual coffee breaks
Socializing with coworkers fosters a sense of connection and camaraderie. Set up virtual coffee breaks by:
- Scheduling a regular time to chat over video
- Discussing non-work-related topics
- Encouraging team-building activities or games
Declutter and organize your workspace
A clean and organized workspace boosts productivity and focus. To efficiently declutter and organize:
- Designate specific places for essential items
- Remove unnecessary clutter from your desk
- Regularly tidy up and maintain your workspace
- See the principles of a minimalist, a “hygge home office“, or a Scandinavian home office for inspiration
Meditate or practice mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness can reduce stress and improve concentration. Try these techniques:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Guided meditation apps or videos
- Mindfulness practices, such as focusing on the present moment
Enjoy some pet therapy
Spending time with pets can relieve stress and boost your mood. During breaks, consider:
- Cuddling with your pet
- Playing fetch or engaging in interactive games
- Feeding your cat
- Taking your dog or puppy for a short walk
Listen to music or dance
Music and dance can improve mental health and spark creativity. Explore:
- Different music genres to match your mood
- Dancing to your favorite tunes
- Singing along to uplifting songs
Read something light or funny
Laughter and humor can relieve stress and brighten your mood. Check out:
- Humorous books or short stories
- Funny articles or blog posts
- Witty comics or cartoons
Prepare a healthy snack
Eating healthy during breaks supports mental and physical well-being. This can help you if you experience gaining weight when working from home. Try these quick, healthy snack ideas:
- Fruit and yogurt parfait
- Sliced veggies with hummus
- A smoothie with leafy greens and fruits
Know Your Company's Break Policy
Being aware of your company’s break policy is crucial when working from home. This knowledge ensures that you’re not only adhering to the guidelines set by your employer but also maximizing the benefits of your break time. You will feel at ease knowing that you are taking breaks just as you are allowed to. This will enable you to benefit from the break and not stress over breaking any rules.
To better understand your company’s break policy, take the time to read through any employee handbooks or documentation provided by your employer. Or just ask your leader or boss what the best practices for breaks are. It’s always better to have a clear understanding of the policy than to unknowingly break the rules.
When discussing breaks with your employer, it’s essential to maintain open and honest communication. Professionally share your concerns or questions, and be receptive to any feedback or guidance they provide. It may be similar to convincing your boss to let you work from home.
If you feel that the current break policy isn’t meeting your needs, consider presenting evidence-backed suggestions for improvement. This might include sharing studies on the benefits of taking breaks, as well as examples of successful break policies from other companies. Or use your own experiences. You may have been allowed to take breaks in a previous job and benefited from this.
By understanding your company’s break policy and effectively communicating with your employer, you can make the most of your breaks while working from home, ensuring that you stay productive, healthy, and engaged in your work.
How to schedule your breaks when working from home
To make the most of your work-from-home experience you need to schedule breaks at the right time. By having planned break times, you create a structured routine that helps you with better time management and work-life balance. This approach can also prevent you from taking excessively long breaks or skipping them altogether, which could negatively impact your productivity and well-being.
To effectively schedule your breaks, follow these tips:
Assess your work rhythm: Pay attention to your energy levels throughout the day and identify when you naturally feel the need for a break. This could be after completing a specific task, or during a particular time when your focus starts to wane. This can help you get the most out of your day and increase productivity.
Set a routine: Once you understand your work rhythm, establish a consistent break schedule that aligns with your natural energy ebbs and flows. This could mean scheduling a short break every hour or taking longer breaks after completing a significant task. This can also motivate you more by seeing a break at the end of the tunnel (task), so to speak.
Use a calendar or planner: Whether you prefer a digital calendar or a physical planner, make sure to block off your break times. This visual reminder helps reinforce the importance of taking breaks and prevents you from accidentally scheduling meetings or tasks during those times.
Set reminders: Use alarms, timers, or app notifications to remind you when it’s time for a break. This can be particularly helpful when you’re immersed in a task and lose track of time.
Communicate your break schedule: Share your break schedule with your colleagues and supervisors, so they’re aware of when you’re unavailable. This transparency can reduce the likelihood of scheduling conflicts and promote a healthier work environment.
By scheduling your breaks and sticking to a routine, you’ll find yourself more focused and productive while working from home, ultimately leading to a more enjoyable and successful work-from-home experience. I have also written a guide on how often to take breaks when working from home.
Conclusion: Get the most out of your breaks when working from home
As we’ve explored throughout this guide, taking breaks when working from home is essential for you to increase productivity, focus, and overall well-being. By consciously setting aside time for breaks and engaging in activities that rejuvenate and inspire you, you’re investing in your long-term success and happiness.
Remember, the key for you is to strike a balance between relaxation and activities that help you recharge both mentally and physically. The 10 activities I have suggested offer various benefits, from reducing stress and boosting mood to fostering creativity and enhancing focus.
Each individual is unique, and what works best for one person might not be ideal for another. So, we encourage you to experiment with these activities during your breaks and find what resonates most with you.
In conclusion, don’t underestimate the power of taking breaks and engaging in productive activities while working from home. Embrace the importance of self-care, and make breaks an integral part of your work routine. By doing so, you’ll create a healthier and more fulfilling work-from-home experience, ultimately leading to better performance and personal growth.
Now it’s your turn to put these ideas into action. Give these activities a try, and discover the transformative impact they can have on your work-from-home life. Happy breaking 🙂
How long should my breaks be when working from home?
It’s important to take breaks when working from home, but it’s also important to make sure you’re using your time effectively. Experts recommend taking a 15-minute break for every hour of work, but you may need to adjust this based on your own needs and preferences. It’s also a good idea to take longer breaks throughout the day, like a 30-minute lunch break or a 10-15 minute mid-afternoon break.
What if I have a hard time getting back to work after taking a break?
It’s common to feel a little sluggish or unfocused after taking a break, but there are some things you can do to get back into the groove of work. Try setting a timer for 5-10 minutes and diving into a small task, like responding to emails or organizing your workspace. You can also try listening to music or doing some deep breathing to help you refocus.
What if I don’t have a lot of time for breaks?
Even if you only have a few minutes for a break, there are still some things you can do to refresh your mind and body. Try doing some quick stretches at your desk, taking a few deep breaths, or stepping outside for some fresh air.
See here, how often you should take breaks when working from home.