19 May Micro-breaks’ Surprising Benefits for Engagement, Productivity, and Career Success
Since April is Global Stress Awareness Month, it’s important to discuss how we can stay stress-free at work. According to Researchers the micro-breaks effectively increase engagement, efficiency, and career success. With the adage “Rise and Grind,” the value of taking a break from the grind has been downplayed in many workplaces across the nation. And many corporate cultures still hold on to the dinosaur idea that changing wheels at 80 mph will get you more bang for your buck. However, science does not support the notion that driving yourself to death is a smart business strategy. In reality, recent research from North Carolina State University scientists has demonstrated the importance of what I call “Micro-chillers” or taking “Micro-breaks” during the workday. These short breaks—I suggest five minutes or less—can be as easy as resting, walking up and downstairs, looking out a window at nature, snacking, or doing five-minute mindfulness meditation.
“A micro-break is, by definition, short. But a five-minute break can be golden if you take it at the right time,” said Sophia Cho, a co-author of the study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. “Our study shows that it is in a company’s best interest to give employees autonomy in terms of taking micro-breaks when they are needed—it helps employees effectively manage their energy and engage in their work throughout the day.”
The researchers carried out two different experiments. According to the first hypothesis, the full-time staff with poor sleep exhibited more fatigue the next morning and takes more Micro-breaks at work on those days. After taking Micro-breaks, they can work efficiently and had higher work commitment during the day and less end-of-work fatigue. Study 2 verified and replicated Study 1’s observations that poor sleep quality contributed to morning fatigue. When a worker takes Micro-brakes during his/her work, his motivation for the job increase, and end-of-work fatigue decreased.
Using Micro-chillers to take Micro-breaks’ during the Workday:
Micro-chillers are among the most effective tools for staying calm and healthy while also improving energy, focus, and efficiency. They’re fast, compact, and simple to incorporate into your daily life. Five-minute Micro-chillers can be done in a variety of ways and to varying degrees. You can practice them with less time and minimum effort by being attentive during tasks that are already part of your workday and paying absolute, nonjudgmental attention in the present moment. A Micro-chiller exercise can be any brief practice that helps you become more conscious of what’s going on in your everyday routines.
We can practice it whenever we want. You might notice that your mind wanders when you’re reading. Simply you should have control over your wandering thoughts, embrace it, and gently put your attention back to the written words. Similarly, begin to be aware of your feelings, study them as though they were a blemish on your side. Focus on the sensations of your feet on the ground or notice the feel of the breeze, sights, and sounds around you as you walk to the parking garage will help you walk to your printer with present-moment awareness. When you weed the garden, you should pay attention to the plants’ resistance to your hands as you pull on them, as well as the sound of stubborn roots and the scent of fresh soil as you dig the weeds out of their hiding places.
During a Zoom conference, in front of your computer monitor, rushing to complete a deadline, or on a conference call, you can step back from your thought stream and become fully absorbed in the action. While waiting at the doctor’s office, exercise mindful listening. You could tune in to your body sensations when standing in line at the supermarket. If you’re stuck in traffic, try deep breathing. When you’re fully engaged in the following five-minute Micro-chiller breaks throughout your workday, you will notice that previous worries or stressful thoughts are gone. Your palpitation rate gets normal and respiration rates may have slowed, your tight muscles have loosened, and you have more energy.
- Remove your shoes and socks and feel your feet on the carpet. Keep a close eye on how the carpet looks under your foot. If you have an open window in your room, focus on the sounds of chirping birds or inhale the scent of a flower and feel the breeze soothing your skin and mind.
- Take a seat at your dining table and give your meal full attention, being fully present for each bite. Before beginning a meal, take a moment to notice the colors of the food while inhaling the aromas. Slowly and peacefully consume your meal. To thoroughly taste food, chew it two or three times more than normal, paying attention to each ingredient and savoring each morsel. Instead of tasting tuna salad, explore the aroma of celery as it crunches between your teeth, the bursting tartness of pickles, and the blending of tuna and green lettuce. Take a taste of something and pay attention to the sensation against your tongue as it slips down the back of your mouth.
- Once you’ve finished feeding, get up and stretch your body. Allow yourself to completely experience the stretch, paying close attention to where stress is kept and released. Shake the area of your body that feels tense. When you stretch, pay special attention to any areas of your body that have stayed tight. You will feel the removal of tension from the body when bending down and touch your fingertips.
- Concentrate on all the various sound around you for one minute with your eyes open or closed, and see how many of that voice could you remember. You could hear the hissing sound of grass or air conditioning system, distant traffic, a siren, voices from other parts of the house, an aircraft, a clock ticking, or your own stomach gurgling. Instead of trying to recall the sounds after one minute, turn your attention inside and see if you don’t feel calmer and more relaxed.
- Now shift your concentration to your fingers and concentrate on them for another minute. Make a wiggle of your fingertips. Take note of how this sensory experience makes you feel. Pay attention to how the wiggling appears and sounds. Can you hear crackling or the sound of skin rubbing against the skin in your joints? Do you realize how hard your fingers toil on your behalf? If you think you’re judging yourself or the exercise? Is it difficult to maintain your concentration? How does it feel to understand things slowly?
A Final Word:
It’s difficult to relax and be creative when you’re under a lot of stress at work. It separates you from yourself and your surroundings and increases the stress level. Keep an eye on your subconsciousness for the next 24 hours and remember that it goes from moment to moment. Keep in mind the distinction between taking a Micro-break and pushing yourself to complete the task. Take a five-minute Micro-chiller if you find yourself ignoring rest when you need it—even now when you read these words—and see the change in your attention, stress level, and efficiency. If you continue to exercise Micro-breaks, you will see a reduction in anxiety, a sense of relaxation, and an increase in self-satisfaction and conscious productivity.