Less stress and more success: Why taking a break can be beneficial

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Starting your career can be overwhelming, and the fear of falling behind often sees many young workers burn out. When you’re new to full time work it’s easy to forget to take time for yourself. You could fear that stepping out could seem unprofessional or that you aren’t fully committed to your role. While working harder often creates a path to success, overworking can also be a path that leads straight to exhaustion. Which, in turn decreases productivity and affects your wellbeing.
So, if you need more excuses to take that well-earned break, here are our top reasons for why taking a step back can help to boost your productivity:

Improved Focus

No matter how much you love your job, doing the same thing every day can really take its toll on you. Your thoughts can become cloudy, your creativity can diminish and you can lose motivation. Taking a step back from your work gives you a chance to refocus on your priorities and view your life and work from a fresh perspective. Even just having a day or two off from the monotony of everyday work can leave you refreshed and ready to finish the work you may have been putting off for weeks.

Better Relationships

Mustering up the energy to socialise with roommates, friends and significant others after a long day or arduous week of work isn’t easy. Instead of feeling excited to catch up with loved ones, you can often feel guilty for your lack of energy and desire to go rest. Giving yourself a break from work can re-establish your relationships, not only with other people but also with yourself. Taking time off so that you can spend it with your friends, family and loved ones can help you to refocus on the people around you. Even one day off work to sleep in, get that coffee with friends that you’ve been putting off and spending extra time calling your family can make you feel refreshed and happier. Relationships can be just as important as work, so taking time to focus on those people that matter most is vital to maintaining balance in your social and personal life.

Better Productivity

It’s common to think that if you work harder, you will be able to get more done. This may be true, however having a break can actually prompt greater productivity. When we start to feel burnt out at work, even the simplest of tasks can feel like a challenge. Having a small break and feeling refreshed gives you the energy and excitement to go back to work, refuelled and driven. Breaks as small as stepping out of the office to go for a walk during lunch can inspire productivity, but try to schedule some proper time away when you need it.

Increased motivation

If you’ve been working monotonously for a while, you can feel bogged down with your day to day duties and lose your motivation. It can be really beneficial to step away from your work or even take a holiday to reset and re-inspire yourself. Looking at your career goals from a fresh perspective can bring you back to work with boosted motivation and give you momentum. Stepping out from your usual environment can re-centre your career and life goals so that you can go back to work with renewed ambition.

Improved mental health

Sometimes when you’re constantly working it can be easy to forget to look after yourself and your mental health. Taking time away from our everyday duties can reduce stress and improve your mental health and wellbeing. We need to take breaks every now and then to continue working to our best abilities. Taking a mental health day to look after yourself can reduce the likelihood of burning out making you happier and more balanced. Having a break in your cycle of stress can boost creativity, lead to sharper thinking and can improve your overall mental health. Even the planning of a holiday or vacation can boost your happiness for weeks before you leave.

Improved physical health

Working for prolonged periods of time without any sort of break or vacation can have negative effects on a person’s physical health. Constant stress can make you prone to headaches or even more serious health conditions such as high blood pressure or even heart disease. We’re not saying that hard work will ultimately lead to these outcomes, however remembering to look after your physical health is crucial. No work can be completed when you are sick, so it’s in your best interest, and that of the company you work for, to avoid that. Taking semi-regular breaks, no matter how short, can be a way to reduce the likelihood of stress induced health problems.

Inspire your creativity

Sometimes, being in the same environment day in and day out means that you’re not being exposed to new or different settings and experiences. Breaking out of your routine, going somewhere new for a while or doing something different can really help you get out of a creative rut. A study from Stanford has found that taking a walk boosts creativity, which means that something as small as taking a 20 minute stroll around the block when you’re feeling stuck at work can help you clear your mind. If you find that you really need something to spark your creativity, you might be able to negotiate a creative sabbatical with your employers. Harvard Business Review suggests that a creative sabbatical can prevent burnout and taking a break from “constant busyness” is really beneficial.
A break from your work can be as drastic as taking a multi-year sabbatical, or as small as taking a few minutes to rest your eyes and go for a walk. When you’re new to full time work, it can be really difficult to figure out when you need a break and how to take one. It’s important to remember that looking after yourself and avoiding burnout is just as important for you as it is for the company you work for. So, if you need to, go for a walk at lunch, take a break, book that holiday!
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