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Give Me a Break

As summer is upon us, many embark on a yearly vacation. Growing up, it was always a trip “up north” to Northern Michigan for family time and fly fishing. Vacations like this are important for enhancing relationships, emotional rejuvenation, and to find a slower pace, even if just for a limited time. Taking time off can help people de-stress, feel happier, and increase productivity. While these weekend or week-long trips are great, it is also important to incorporate small breaks into your everyday schedules as well. This includes incorporating small and healthy breaks into your monthly, weekly, daily, and even hourly schedules. Research indicates that mental breaks enhance productivity, replenish attention, consolidate memories and improve creativity.

While an exhaustive list is impossible to create, some ideas to incorporate monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly breaks are:


Take a weekend, overnight, or day trip to a city within 3 hours of you


Be a “tourist” in your town and go see local attractions

Look in local newspapers to find local festivals, events, and activities

Schedule a visit to a park

Go catch a sports game




Plan a trip

Call a family member or close friend

Organize or clean your desk, workspace, or area in your home

Listen to a TED talk

Spend a couple of minutes and write 5 goals you would like to accomplish today

Draw, compose, write, color, and create something


Mindfulness activities


Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Spend time thinking about upcoming trips or activities

Take a 5-minute walk outside

Do 5 minutes of yoga

Complete a Lumosity exercise

Do nothing for 2 minutes

Focus on what you see, hear, physically feel, smell, and taste for 30 seconds each to fully appreciate what you are sensing

Listen to a song

Do push-ups and sit-ups for 5 minutes

Talk briefly to a co-worker

Putting aside for brief periods of time can be difficult especially when busy. As long as you can consistently transition back to your task after quick breaks, however, it can be greatly beneficial. So, set aside some important “me time” to enhance your concentration, creativity, output, and mood.

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