6 ways to make your breaks really refreshing

6 ways to make your breaks really refreshing

Here in Australia we have not just one, but two long weekends coming up. 

In just a day or two's time we have the 4 day weekend of Easter; then immediately following that, because ANZAC Day falls on a Friday, we have another 3 day weekend. Quite a few people, I imagine, will have the few days inbetween off and enjoy a substantial break from usual working activities. 

For most people, that might seem like the ultimate definition of happiness. 

But the reality is, many return from "holidays" just as, if not more tired and stressed than they were before. The trials and tribulations of travel, interacting with relatives and many other factors can impact on our physical and mental state during what we imagine will be blissful breaks. 

But holidays don't, obviously, have to be a negative experience. Try these 6 tips to maximise your health and happiness over the coming weeks and ensure that when you return to work at the end of April or early May you're fully refreshed and revitalised and ready to take on the world! 

by Jessica Stillman for Inc.com 

NB: this article ostensibly focuses on short breaks through the day to increase productivity. But the basic principles can be applied on a daily, weekly or even annual basis! 

These days, we’re all suffering from an epidemic of busyness. Unless you’re compelled by a lifelong habit (like, say, smoking) to get up from your desk, breaks can be the first casualty of our packed schedules. But as Vanderkam and a raft of experts who have studied the issue stress, research makes clear that we tend to get more done if we regularly take short pit stops to relax and refresh.

Not only does physically getting up now and again protect you from the truly horrible health consequences of too much sitting, but taking quick "smoke breaks" (sans cigarette) when you feel your mental energy depleting (for most folks around every 90 minutes seems to be a good rule of thumb) ensures you’ll get more done in the long run.

Plus, you’ll just enjoy your life more if you don’t keep pushing yourself beyond the point of mental exhaustion. So what are some ideas for a truly refreshing alternative to actual smoke breaks? The experts offer plenty.

Get Social

Share the joy of mentally refreshing with a friend. "A personal phone call, can be as pleasurable (and far healthier) than lighting up," notes Vanderkam. Research has also shown that reaching out to those close to us is one of the quickest and most effective methods of combatting a bad mood. Sick of the phone? On the iDoneThis blog personal productivity coach Natalie M. Houston offers an alternative type of social break: "Write a note to an old friend you haven’t been in touch with recently."


Any sort of mindfulness practice is another sure fire winner when it comes to boosting your clarity and mental horsepower in a short amount of time. On Zen Habits, Jonathan Mead suggests you simply breathe. "Do 10 or 15 minutes of meditation, focused on your breathing," he suggests. Alternatively, just 20 minutes of yoga has been shown to boost your brain power more than an equal period of jogging or other light exercise.


You’re the boss, so who is going to object? And even if they did, science is on your side. Reams of research indicates a quick cat nap of 20-minutes or so can seriously boost your productivity. Just ask Google, Nike and Zappos, all of whom encourage employees to snooze as needed…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE