How I Take Breaks During the Remote Workday

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Before a work call the other day, my boss asked us each to come prepared to share what we do during the day to keep us happy & motivated throughout the workday. 

She talked about her love of fancy non-alcoholic drinks (like the iced cardamom rosewater coffee with honey she'd just made), while other folks talked about what they're inclined to do during their breaks, like gardening & walking the dog. I don't have a dog or a garden, but after decade of that work-from-home life, I do have a lot of little tricks for break-taking & motivation-stirring. 

Here's are 10 ways that I work small breaks into the day & how the activities I choose help my brain recharge for the work to come. 

1. Get coffee

I don't usually make coffee from home. I mean, sure, I can, but it's nice to have an excuse to leave the house & talk to someone else. I know all the friendly baristas in my neighborhood, plus some of the regulars, & it's worth it to pay a little bit of money every day to interact with other people. Afterward, I'm caffeinated and rejuvenated in terms of human interaction. 

2. FaceTime a friend

I have so many friends all over the country who I haven't seen for a long time. This is especially applicable to my old coworkers, who I really, really miss & don't want to lose touch with, so I love a quick lunchtime FaceTime call to say hello to people I love & don't get to see very often. I always hang up with high spirits, which is good for my overall motivation.

3. Switch up my view 

This was less of an option during peak pandemic times, but I like to switch up my workspace when I can. Whether it's heading to a coffee shop or relocating to my porch on a sunny day, being someplace other than my home office helps shake up my brain just enough to get me out of ruts. 

4. Make lunch

I frequently grab lunch elsewhere (lookin' at you, Leavened, La Bodega, & Lucky's), but I've also come to like the times I make it for myself. Usually it's simple, like whipping up a salad, reheating leftovers, or making a sandwich, but it's always a nice way to break up the day & step away from my tech (& fuel myself, of course).

5. Clean the apartment

Anybody else clean to relax? I do best when my space is neat & organized, but let's be real... it is often neither neat nor organized. Sometimes I take a break to empty the litterbox, wash the dishes, or just put things away in my office. When my space is in good shape, my brain can focus on my work instead. 

6. Take a shower

In a similar vein to cleaning my home, sometimes I take a break to clean myself. It can be so soothing to pop into the shower midday to just turn off my brain & turn on that hot water, letting myself zone out for a few minutes & then starting fresh. Sometimes I come up with good ideas in the shower, too! 

7. Go for a quick ride 

I don't do this as often as you might think, but at times when I'm feeling particularly high-stress, I like to hop on the Peloton for a few miles. I'm currently trying to ride the length of the Grand Canyon (280 miles!) and fundraising for VeloSano, so every little bit of mileage counts. It helps me destress & gets the blood flowing.

8. Bake cookies

My favorite cookie recipe is so easy to make that I've been known to whip up a batch of cookies on a quick lunch break. I'm actually not a big cookie person, but I like to make them for friends & neighbors. It's just a relaxing, no-brainer of an activity during a quick break... & it always makes the house smell good! 

9. Meet up with a friend

Now that I am able to take a full hour lunch break most days, if I wish, it's nice to be able to make plans once in awhile to meet someone for lunch or coffee. It's just so nice to see people in person & get out of my everyday routine a bit. 

10. Take a power nap

I've always been a big napper, & since being diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia, I have less guilt about it than ever... yes, even during the workday. I'm always sure to set an alarm on the other side of the room, to ensure that I don't oversleep, but so long as I keep it short, I always wake up feeling refreshed & rejuvenated.

How do you take breaks during the workday, whether from home or at the office? Anything crucial that I'm missing from my repertoire? 

1 comment:

  1. I love me a power naps. Something I started right before corona but than kinda didn't do. Better I couldn't with the husband working in the next room. So much guilt. But he is back at the office two days a week. Guess how many times I took a nap. HA!
    I also like to take a walk outside with a coffee to get some movement in body and brain. Also podcast listening is high on my list. Specially work related ones feel like a good break as it is still kinda work.


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