If you are struggling to get things done, remain motivated and keep consistent it can feel completely counter-intuitive to stop and take a break.
You want to keep going, break through the barrier, prove to yourself that you can and will succeed.
But this is often the least constructive route you can take
Yes, sometimes you do just need to complete the task that’s in front of you whether you feel like it or not, but if you are wasting more time procrastinating, staring at a blank screen or going round in circles in your brain rather than completing the task then how about taking a different approach?
How about taking a break?
I’ve achieved so much in life by taking even just a fifteen minute break. Suddenly your brain can relax, the pressure eases. You can see the problem clearly and gain some perspective.
Good break time habits:
- Go outside – this is by far the best thing you can do to give your brain a break. Your brain gets new things to look at so starts approaching ideas and problems in a different way. Your body gets exercise (even if it is just a walk to the garden and back) so immediately releases relaxing endorphins to relieve stress. You create physical distance between you and the task, helping you to gain perspective.
- Meditate – Our brains get so caught up in their own little world that we need to create peace on purpose. Try an app like Insight Timer which gives you thousands of free relaxing meditations to free up your brain space. You only need 5-10 minutes. Go on, give it a go.
- Exercise – It often feels like we don’t have time to exercise, that it is too much effort and we NEED to get other, more important things done. But if you’ve been staring at the same problem for half an hour already or procrastinating with other pointless tasks, then why not do 30mins of exercise instead? A yoga video, a short run, get on your bike. You’re feeling stuck? Well get moving physically instead.
- Talk to someone else – We are social creatures and love human contact. Often when we’re in a rut we shy away from others when really we need them most. Go to the office, speak to someone in the kitchen, phone a friend, go to the shops and say hello to the cashier, smile at someone walking their dog. You’ll come back feel recharged again.
- Eat something – I don’t mean snack on endless cookies and dougnuts, but often we can forget to nourish ourselves and don’t realise how this is contributing to our tiredness and lack of concentration.
Bad break time habits:
- Scrolling social media – This is NOT giving your brain a break, this is just bombarding it with more information. You will go back to the task afterwards even more frantic. Put the socials down.
- Over-eating – It’s useful to make sure you have enough fuel to focus on the tasks ahead, but eating too much will just make you feel sluggish, or give you a sugar rush and then crash (this used to be my life before I started regulating my sugar intake), which won’t help you achieve your goals.
- Ruminating – While this is totally normal, if you’re looking to give your brain a break, your best bet is to do something that helps release your brain from rumination. If you find your break is being dominated by unhelpful thoughts then it’s a sign you need to actively find a way to help your brain focus on something else – luckily there are many simple ways you can do this (see above!).
If you’re finding it hard to switch off and give your brain a break, get in touch, there are many ways I can help you re-focus and re-energise to achieve your goals.