Oh, we love talking about breaks and recovery! We’ve talked about breaks in our podcast and on the site, plus we always include a break day in our Resets. Today, we want to share some fun new research on teeny breaks! Micro-breaks can be very helpful in your work day. Keep reading to find out what you can do and why it matters!
What is a Micro-Break?
A micro-break is a short break during the work day that is under 10 minutes in length. These breaks are technically ‘on the clock’ and not official break times like lunch or your 15 minute required breaks if you are hourly. These breaks can be as short as even one teeny minute!
A micro-break includes a variety of different activities. For example, your micro-break can be somewhat work-related like changing tasks or making a to-do list. Alternatively, you can do something more fun like checking social media or eating your favorite snack. Additionally, your break can be something meant to help with personal tasks like making a doctor’s appointment or make you feel better like standing up and stretching.
The Importance of Tiny Breaks
We all take little breaks throughout the day. I often take a pause from my work to scroll through Instagram or watch the YouTube video my friend sent me. But why do these little breaks matter?
As always, we want to bring it back to wellness. Micro-breaks throughout the day lead to higher end-of-workday well-being. How great is that? Don’t feel guilty if you feel like you need a bunch of little breaks throughout your day! It’s actually good for you! Taking breaks where you detach from work (like watching a short SNL skit in this study) leads to less fatigue and feeling more vigorous. In other words, if you take a fun break where you don’t think about work, you are less likely to feel exhausted later and more likely to feel lively or energetic.
Interestingly, these breaks can be super tiny and still have benefits! As little as 1 minute breaks can go a long way! This is so important. You don’t need a lot of time away from work on a busy day to help yourself feel better. Taking a minute here and there can really help you feel less exhausted when you finally wrap up for the day.
Tips for an Amazing Micro-Break Day
So, what can you do to ensure you have a great day of breaks? The best micro-breaks are ones where you can detach from thinking about work, relax, and/or feel like you enjoyed the break. Think about the kinds of little breaks you like to take. Maybe it’s social media, watching cute cat videos, doing a 5-minute mindfulness meditation, or getting up and stretching. I encourage you to take some time to figure out what your favorite breaks look like.
Once you’ve figured out your favorite breaks, make sure you take them! Don’t feel guilty if you want to take a minute to watch that video your sister sent you of her dog. Open up that mindfulness app and do a little breathing exercise. Finally, don’t make these breaks so formal. Take them when you need them. Just wrote a long and complicated email? Take your break. In the middle of a task that is super boring? Stop halfway through and text your best friend about the funny thing that happened. Take those micro-breaks as you need them to ensure your wellness at the end of the workday.
Lastly, leaders and managers, pay attention! Encourage your team members to take breaks. Don’t be the awful leader that comments if you see someone scrolling through their Facebook feed. Let them! This will help energize your employees so that they can keep doing great things once they get back to work. Also, take the lead on micro-breaks. Don’t hide the little breaks you take from your team members. Let them know you take them too so they can feel empowered to have those little pockets of time away from work too.