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The Perception of Taking a Break

Life can feel so busy and overwhelming at times. We live in a society that sometimes celebrates overworking which can lead to an imbalance of work-home life, limited self-care, and burnout. Due to this view on taking a break, we can feel guilty taking a break which pushes up to work harder and ignore the signs our body and mind are telling us that we need a break. 


Its important to understand the importance of taking a break and commit to prioritizing breaks in your life. Below are a few strategies that may help you take a break and remove the guilt. 


  1. Add it to your list of tasks and schedule


We often view taking a break as the same thing as doing nothing. Making lists can be a great way to keep yourself focused and feel like your accomplished something in your jam-packed day. Checking off things on the list can be helpful to boost mood and decrease anxiety. By adding breaks onto the list, it allows you check something else off on the list, while prioritizing you own needs and not just the demands of those around you. Everything on the list is viewed as having equal value. 


When adding the break to your schedule, it’s easier to remember to take a break. Again, everything in your schedule is viewed as having equal value. If it is in the schedule, it is non-negotiable. 


   2. Be intentional about what your break looks like 


Consider these scenarios: You slump into the couch after work and turn on Netflix. After scrolling to find something to watch for 15 minutes you just pick a show. You then scroll on your phone for two hours with Netflix playing in the background. Alternatively, you make the plan today that you are going to watch “X” show on Netflix tonight. When you sit down you know exactly what you are going to watch. You put your phone down because you are intentionally paying attention to the show and relaxing for the next hour. 


Mindlessly doing a task and intentionally doing a task can make a difference in how we feel and how recharging that task is. 


    3. Utilize micro-breaks


Often, I will hear from clients that they just don’t have time to take a break. When there is no other option, taking a microbreak is better than no break at all. Microbreaks are smaller breaks taken at more frequent intervals. This is especially important for individuals working at a computer all day. This allows for our brain to take a break from the task at hand, as well as a break for our eyes from screens. Standing up quickly to stretch your legs and reset your posture will make a difference throughout the day. Microbreaks would be one minute in length every thirty minutes or two minutes every hour. 


    4. Prioritize Sleep


Sleep is the ultimate break that we all need at the end of the day. Our body and brain need this time to recharge. 


    5. Reminder that everyone deserves a break


Regardless of our profession, we all have a brain and body that requires breaks. Physically demanding jobs require breaks. Mentally and emotionally demanding jobs require breaks. Stay-at-home parents require breaks. Honor where you are at in your life and see the importance of taking a break. 




Shannon Baustad, MC, is experienced in many areas such as anxiety, depression, and relationships, plus many more. For more information on Shannon and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.