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The Benefits of Taking Breaks and Incorporating Mindfulness Practices into Your Workday

In today’s workforce, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed about work schedules and rushed to bring the best for customers and clients. Whether you’re a business owner or virtual assistant, we all have deadlines to meet and exceed, clients to impress, creativity to foster, strategies to develop - the list goes on! So how are we supposed to manage it all and feel at peace when the workday ends? The key is to take breaks and incorporate mindfulness practices. Now, you may think it’s counterintuitive to take breaks outside of meals. After all, there’s precious time and money on the table! In this blog, we outline the benefits of taking breaks and mindfulness practices into your workday. 

What Does it Mean to Take Breaks?

co-workers taking a mindful break

Taking breaks obviously includes meals, but that’s not what we are referring to in this blog. For short periods of time, taking a break pauses your workday so you can regain focus, get inspired, and destress. No, pouring yourself a third cup of coffee unfortunately does not count; although, don’t let us discourage you from indulging in your favorite brew. Moving around, looking away from computer and phone screens, and engaging in casual conversation all constitute taking a break; however, these activities are met with mindfulness practices as the foundation. 

What are Mindfulness Practices?

Mindfulness is about awareness of our mental states and being as engaged as possible in the present. It’s about emotional intelligence, being grounded, and accepting the present situation as it is. We’re not talking about yoga classes or religion, but rather, being mentally prepared to tackle the workday. Simple strategies including breathing, sight-seeing, and enjoying coffee and light snacks throughout the day in a quiet environment significantly impact your mental energy. 

Benefits of Taking Breaks and Incorporating Mindfulness Practices

virtual assistant taking a break

Together, taking breaks with mindfulness as the foundation looks different for everyone. Perhaps you can’t control the sound of your work environment due to where you live. Or, maybe you hate coffee! There isn’t a single right way to take breaks and incorporate mindfulness practices. Find what works for you and reap the benefits including, but not limited to: 

  • Reduced Stress: When we’re stressed, our cortisol levels rise, leading us to become tense, feel pressure, and dislike our work. Short breaks and mindfulnesses can diffuse the toll of stress on our bodies and minds, even if we’re spending just a few minutes doing something else. You’ll be surprised to know that a little goes a long way.

  • Improved Focus: Have you ever mixed up or forgotten information? If so, then it’s likely due to focusing on too much at a time. Our brains need time to process the meeting we just got out of or the schedule given to us, so it’s not exactly ideal to jump ship from one client to another. However, if we take a short break to sit with our thoughts, we let our brains rest from the hustle and bustle of the workday and begin to make sense of new information. That way, we regain our focus when we return to actively working. 

  • Enhanced Creativity: Writing this blog is easy, but it takes conversational language and snappy writing to make it stand out among other blogs of the same topic. You may have felt similarly about projects, even if you’re not in the creative field. Accountants need to craft cost-effective ways to bring strategies to life. Creativity is a must in any profession and it often gets stifled when we look at projects for too long to recognize what we’re trying to accomplish in the first place. But, mindful breaks divert our attention to other matters and, more often than not, open new doors for inspiration. 

  • Informed Decision-Making: On the other hand, we tend to get carried away and lose sight of reality if we’re too focused on one thing. This is especially true if you’re working alone without external input or a team to critique ideas. Say you come up with a brilliant strategy in the moment, but think the total opposite the next day and regret the time you invested into it. Taking breaks and mindful thinking grounds us back to reality by having us assess the present for what it is. Go out in nature, eat a healthy snack, and practice slow breathing to combat impulsive thinking and promote rational thoughts.

  • Heightened Work-Life Balance: Practicing mindfulness establishes boundaries about work, how much mental energy you assign, and when you assign your mental energy. While taking breaks and mindfulness are mostly thought of in the context of work, let’s not understate the lingering thoughts about tomorrow’s work outside of the office and after working hours. Effective mindfulness strategies form good habits about work-life boundaries and balance and the sooner, the better

These are just a few benefits taking breaks and incorporating mindfulness practices into your day have on your productivity and mental health. Breathing, getting out in nature, talking with someone briefly, and enjoying light snacks are effective practices for breaks and mindfulness. Let’s not forget about regulating our coffee intake as well! Remember, the goal of mindfulness and taking breaks is to establish work boundaries, be in the present, and control your mental state. Utilizing various strategies will help you be ready to tackle work in a productive, healthy way. How do you practice mindfulness? Here at Milrich Virtual Professionals, each of our team members work from home, taking advantage of flexible work schedules. Share how you take charge of your work-life balance in the comments.



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