Taking regular brain breaks can help you stay strong and push to the finish line!
Small business owners work hard each day and get bogged down in tasks that take extended concentration. CPA and accounting professionals are especially worn out as deadlines approach, but also in the summer when tackling projects that were postponed until after big deadlines. Brain breaks are a simple, effective way to prolong your concentration and help you push through to complete a project or complex task.
Many people feel like taking a break is a waste of time.
The thinking goes that they will get more done if they just continue working; however, scientific research has shown that brain breaks can actually improve the quality of your work and your ability to focus on a task for an extended period of time.
Heidi Hanna, health and stress expert, recommends taking a five to ten-minute brain break after every 50 minute period of working with deep concentration. A brain break doesn’t just mean scrolling through Facebook. A true brain break is a shift in the type of activity you are doing.
Here is a list of popular brain break ideas that take little or no preparation:
Breathe. Close your eyes and take a long slow deep breath in. Let the air out as slowly as you can. Repeat. You can also roll your head from side to side or roll your shoulders forward and back. This is especially a good break if you have been hunched over a keyboard all day.
Walk. It doesn’t have to be outside, but if you can, do it! Even just a walk into a different room can give your brain a break from the same old view. Walking also gets your heart pumping and renews your energy.
Stretch. This may not be possible everywhere, but if you can, do some stretching. Simply touch your toes then stretch your arms to the ceiling. Another is to bend your arm behind your head as though you will scratch the middle of your back, then use the other hand to pull your elbow. This provides a great, simple stretch, without causing your office colleagues to wonder what you’re up to!
Snack. Eat a healthy snack, but not at your desk while you are working. Take a true brain break by eating elsewhere. (Do not reach for that break-room donut either which will only leave you with a sugar crash.) Have healthy fruits, vegetables, or proteins like hard-boiled eggs, a cheese stick, or Greek yogurt to give you energy without the regrets.
Play. Take some time to have fun by playing a game – though not a computer game, but a game away from the screen. Some offices have dart boards set up or a putting green. If your office doesn’t, you could make up a game office Olympics style: how many paperclips can you throw into a paper cup?
Chat. Have a face to face or phone conversation – nothing long and not with a co-worker who is in the middle of a task. Just 5-10 minutes to use your brain differently. Be sure it’s not too serious, and bonus points for laughing!
Calm. This app for your smartphone developed by sociologist and sleep researcher Dr. Alex Pang makes meditation easy with some prompts for five minutes of relaxation. There is also a library of soothing nature sounds.
Remember a brain break is not a waste of time. A brain break is a smart tool to use to let your body and your brain do its best work.
Which one of these brain break ideas will you use this week at the office?