How to Make the Most of Your Work Breaks

There is a reason that it is mandated by law for your employer to allow you to take short breaks throughout your work day. They are vitally important to your health, well being, and workplace productivity. Although your work breaks might seem short to you, there are many benefits to stepping away from your desk for a bit.

Grab a Healthy Snack

Although getting a candy bar or bag of chips from the vending machine is tempting, instead, opt for a healthier choice that will provide nutritional benefits. Nuts and fruit are easy options that do not need to be refrigerated most of the time, and you can keep them on hand in your desk or cubby. If you are looking for something more filling, popcorn with light butter and salt or granola can provide a satisfying crunch as well. Sliced cheese and crackers are also a great option that will likely fill you up and hold you over until lunch or the end of your shift.

Help With Problem Solving

Using your 15 minute breaks at work can be valuable in mental stimulation and finding solutions to complex issues. Research has shown that stepping away from a problem and focusing on something else for a short period of time, or even simply allowing your mind to wander, can be beneficial in unraveling a topic you may be stumped on. It can stimulate thinking about the wider angle view of a problem rather than tunnel vision that could cause unnecessary distractions. This will also vastly improve your productivity as well. Try thinking about things outside of work to gain a better understanding of whatever you are looking to accomplish.

Get Some Vitamin D

Finding time to go outside is critical to your health, especially if you are working indoors in an office environment for the majority of your day. Even a few minutes of sunlight, with protection such as sunscreen, of course, has a myriad of benefits. It can strengthen your bone density, improve your mood and demeanor, and even lead to better quality sleep with a more regular circadian rhythm. Take time to sit out in the sun during one of your breaks, and you will be much better equipped to handle the remainder of your day. Elevating your Vitamin D levels has also been shown to correlate with increased weight loss.

Improve Circulation With Stretching

When working in a place that involves sitting for long periods of time, it is important to make sure you remain active throughout your work day. Fortunately, many stretches exist that are easy to do at your desk if you have a few minutes to spare, or even outside during one of your shorter breaks. Doing wrist stretches to prevent development of carpal tunnel, or spinal twists and hip stretches while seated, can increase blood circulation and keep your muscles from stiffening with several hours at a time of not being used. If you go outside or have more room, leg lunges and raises are a great way to stretch your thighs and calves.

Strike Up a Conversation

Socializing with those around you, as long as it does not interfere with tasks that need to be accomplished, can be extremely healthy in a work environment. Connections between employees has been shown to lead to more productivity and efficiency. Finding out which personalities work best together can also be beneficial to collaboration and putting together teams for different projects or assignments. Creating genial connections with your colleagues make it easier to bring up issues or problems without the awkwardness of not having a good working relationship. Networking is also beneficial for making alliances that could help you in the future, whether you want a promotion or are changing career paths. Whether you are getting a few minutes of sunlight and eating a snack, stretching, or socializing with your colleagues, your 15 minute breaks at work can be used effectively. Related: How To Monitor Your Employees Productivity