Give Yourself a Break Today

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on November 14, 2013

If you could re-energize, ease stress, and boost your willpower in just 10 minutes, would you do it? Who wouldn’t? By simply taking a break, you can reap all those benefits and more. For instance, did you know a rested mind is more likely to stick with healthy habits?

So stop what you're doing, and turn off your phone (but not before you finish this article).

Here are five ways to make it happen.

1) Go ahead, try it. Taking breaks is useful, not wasteful.

When you return to what you were doing, you’ll be more refreshed and ready to dig in. Better focus and attention will lead to better results, too.

2) Estimate your own battery life. When you schedule your day, consider when your body and brain will need a reboot.

Say you're working on a big project. Schedule a break for every 2 hours of focused attention. More frequent mini-breaks may be even better.

3) Take a hike. Head outdoors for a walk. Movement isn’t only good for your waistline. It also helps shed stress. Hush your cell phone. Let nature be your soundtrack.

4) Cut the cord. Constantly checking email after you leave the office? How about when you’re on vacation?

Letting work interrupt your personal time isn’t good for your mental health or your personal relationships. Take time to separate from the office and relax. After all, is the email really that important?

5) Get away, often. It’s a fact: People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals.

It doesn’t have to be 2 weeks in Europe, either. Just 24 hours away, and you’ll reap the benefits.

Even better, the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation. You can feel the effects up to 8 weeks before your trip. And when you’re done with that retreat, start planning the next one. Simply having something to look forward to can be rewarding.

Show Sources


Brooks B. Gump, PhD, MPH, endowed professor of public health, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.

John P. Trougakos, Ph.D., associate professor of organizational behavior, University of Toronto.

Quigley, P. U.S. News, Aug. 17, 2011.

Parker-Pope, T. The New York Times, Feb. 18, 2010.

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