In today’s fast-paced world, women “of a certain age” i.e. 40 – 50’s, often find themselves caught up in the never-ending cycle of work – both paid and unpaid.
Middle age brings with it a vast range of responsibilities for a woman, often leaving little to no time for self care.
Unfortunately this often means that once the kids have grown up, parents are looked after, work is manageable, the middle aged woman often finds herself turning inwards and discovering she is physically and mentally worn out.
Introducing the mini-break
While working hard is important, it’s equally important to take breaks and recharge. In fact, taking mini-breaks throughout the day can help us be more productive, creative, and energized. Read on to discover the power of taking mini-breaks during the day – this might just be the break through you need to look after yourself during this busy time of life.
Taking mini-breaks helps to combat fatigue.
Concentrating for long periods of time can lead to mental and physical tiredness. This results in decreased productivity, creativity, and motivation. Taking a short break – 5 minutes can be enough – can help recharge our batteries and refocus our attention ready for the next task.
Tip: try the Pomodoro Effect by setting a time for 30 minutes focused work, take a mini break, then go again for another 30 minuets
Mini-breaks can help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Working non stop without breaks can lead to burnout, which can have a negative impact on our mental health. By incorporating short breaks throughout the day, we give ourselves time to relax and de-stress. This in turn can help reduce feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, and improve our overall mood.
Tip: practice deep breathing: just 10 long slow breaths can help re-set and recharge you
Mini breaks can help to improve physical health.
Sitting for long periods of time can have a negative impact on our posture, circulation, and overall health. By moving more during the day, we can reduce the risks associated with sitting for too long.
Tip: try stretching at your desk, walking around, or doing some light exercise like push ups against the kitchen bench while you wait for the kettle to boil.
Mini-breaks can help to boost creativity.
You know the phrase “sleep on it before you make a decision”, well the same applies to mini-breaks during the day. By stepping away from a task we take our focus somewhere else, allowing the brain the space to wander and come up with new ideas.
Taking a break to engage in a creative activity, such as drawing or writing, can also help to stimulate our imagination and spark new ideas.
Tip: movement has been associated with increased creativity so if you’re stuck on a particularly tricky issue, try gentle exercise: you might just have a creative breakthrough and new insights.
Mini-breaks can help us to connect with others.
In today’s digital age, it’s easy to become isolated and disconnected from others. Taking a break to chat with a colleague or take part in a team-building activity can help to foster a sense of community and connection.
10 mini-break ideas
- Take a five-minute walk around the office or outside
- Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths
- Listen to a favorite song or playlist for a few minutes
- Practice stretching or simple yoga poses
- Enjoy a quick cup of tea or coffee
- Step outside and get some fresh air
- Do a quick meditation or mindfulness exercise
- Take a power nap for 10-15 minutes
- Read a few pages of a book or magazine
- Have a short conversation with a colleague or friend
Taking mini-breaks throughout the day is an important part of maintaining our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By taking short breaks to recharge, de-stress, and connect with others, we can improve our productivity, creativity, and overall quality of life. So, the next time you find yourself stuck in a cycle of work, take a few minutes to step away and give yourself a well-deserved break.
Got a bit more time? Go Forest Bathing
If you have a bit more time, getting outside into green space is a powerful reset for mind and body.
Forest bathing, also known as shinrin-yoku, is the practice of immersing oneself in nature by spending time in a forest or other natural environment. Research has shown that forest bathing can have a wide range of benefits for both physical and mental health. In fact, doctors in Japan will prescribe it to patients for its mental health benefits.
Spending time in nature can help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve mood. It can also boost the immune system and increase the production of natural killer cells, which can help to fight off disease and infection. Forest bathing has also been shown to improve cognitive function, increase focus and attention, and improve sleep quality. Overall, forest bathing is a simple and effective way to improve overall health and well-being.