Now, most people use this break to make a round of tea, or go for a cigarette; however, as I'm trying to cut down on caffeine, and I don't smoke, I try and use these periods to do something productive such as note down ideas for my blog or even just neaten up my desk area. Breaks are important - so use them! Here's a list of five things that you could do on your breaks.
1. Go outsideGetting outside, even just for a few minutes, can improve your mood. Regulated exposure to sunshine releases endorphins - these are neuropeptides which reduce perceptions of pain, thus making you happier! If you've had an awful morning, a quick stroll in the sunshine might perk you up a bit and prepare your for the rest of the day.
2. MeditateFor the working woman, this no longer means sitting cross-legged and chanting a mantra. You can easily meditate at your desk with a pair of headphones and a meditation app in order to increase mindfulness and overcome daily obstacles such as stress. My favourite apps include Headspace and Omvana.
3. ReadFrom magazines, to the Pocket app (which lets you save interesting articles to read later) to a good old-fashioned novel, there's always something to read. The benefits of reading are endless: some studies have shown that the increase in mental stimulation can help prevent Alzheimer's and Dementia, reduce stress, and improve memory and concentration - but it also expands your general knowledge and vocabulary, and helps you gain better writing and communication skills.
4. ExerciseLike sunshine, exercise also releases endorphins - making you happier! If you have a gym in your office block or very nearby, take advantage you lucky thing! If not, find a space where you can be alone and do a quick blast of HIIT - better yet, find a friend to do it with you.
5. Talk to someoneIt seems that our culture just doesn't talk to each other anymore, bar messenger and texts. On your next break (if you don't already), try the simple act of talking, whether it's on the phone, with the person at the desk next to you, or someone from the other side of the room. If you have have your office clique and don't tend to stray outside, try talking to someone different - there's nothing more uplifting than making a new friend.
Regardless of this list, you should always use your breaks to take a short time away from work or from your screen. A good personal and worklife balance is essential not just for mental but for physical health. Let me know what you do on your breaks in the comments below!