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Microbreaks at Work: Why They're So Important for Your Health

05 September 2022

We’ve all been there – working long hours without a break, trying to get ahead, or simply meeting a deadline. While it may seem like a good idea at the time, working for long periods without taking a break can actually be detrimental to your health.

Studies have repeatedly shown that doing too much of anything can harm your health. This is why most workspaces try to incorporate different tools to ensure the workers get enough breaks from their desks. So, how important are microbreaks at work? This is the question we're going to answer today.

Listening to calming music

What Are Microbreaks?

We’ve all been there before – sitting at our desks for hours on end, working on a project or task that just doesn’t seem to be getting done. Our eyes start to strain, our necks get stiff, and we feel exhausted. But we push through because we think that if we take a break, we’ll never get back into the flow of things.

Sound familiar?

If so, you might want to consider taking microbreaks more often. Microbreaks are brief (usually less than 5 minutes) breaks you take throughout the day to re-energize yourself and increase your productivity.

There are many different ways to take a microbreak, but some of the most popular include:

Getting up to walk around for a couple of minutes.
Stepping outside for some fresh air.
Take a quick power nap.
Doing some light stretching or yoga poses.
Snacking on healthy foods or drinks.
Listening to calming music.

I'll be discussing all of this in detail in a later section of this blog, so keep reading to find out more.

How Can Microbreaks Improve Your Health?

How Can Microbreaks Improve Your Health?

Microbreaks are brief breaks we take throughout the day, typically lasting around 1-5 minutes. They can be taken anywhere at any time and don’t require special equipment or planning.

So what can you do to combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting? One simple solution is to take more microbreaks throughout the day. Here's how micro-breaks can improve the different aspects of your health.

1. Improves circulation

When you sit for long periods, your muscles can feel tight and uncomfortable. Taking a few minutes to move around throughout the day helps improve circulation and can prevent cramping or stiffness.

2. Reduces stress

Stress can take a toll on your body physically and mentally. Microbreaks can help reduce stress by giving you a chance to step away from whatever is causing you tension or anxiety. Even just a few minutes of relaxation can make a big difference in how you feel.

3. Boosts energy levels

Sitting in the same position for hours can make you feel sluggish and tired. Microbreaks allow you to move your body and get your blood flowing, which can help increase energy levels.

4. Prevents eye strain

If you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen or other digital devices, you may start to experience eye strain. Regular breaks give your eyes a chance to rest and help prevent this fatigue.

5. Improves productivity

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking breaks can actually help you be more productive. When you take a break, you give your mind a chance to rest and rejuvenate, which can help improve focus and concentration. As a result, you may find that you can get more done when you return to work after a brief break.

6. Reduces back pain

If you have a sedentary job, you may be at risk of developing back pain. Taking microbreaks throughout the day can help reduce the time you spend sitting in one position and alleviate some of the strain on your back.

7. Improves mood

When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it can be tough to maintain a positive outlook. However, taking a few minutes to yourself can help improve your mood and give you a more positive outlook on the day.

8. Promotes healthy habits

Microbreaks allows you to incorporate healthy habits into your day. For example, you might use your break to take a short walk or stretch your muscles. Or, if you have trouble drinking enough water throughout the day, you can use your break to drink a glass of water or eat a healthy snack.

9. Reduced anxiety levels

Anxiety is a common Mental Health problem that can be caused or aggravated by stress. Taking regular microbreaks can help to reduce anxiety levels by giving us a chance to relax and de-stress. This can lead to improved mental health and a reduction in the symptoms of anxiety disorders.

10. Improved sleep quality

Stress can often lead to poor sleep quality, as we may find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. This can impact our Mental Health, causing problems such as fatigue, irritability, and concentration difficulties. Taking regular microbreaks can help to improve sleep quality by giving us a chance to relax and de-stress before bedtime. This can lead to improved mental health and increased daily energy levels.

11. Greater sense of control

When stressed, we can often feel out of control and like we’re not in charge of our own life. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Taking regular microbreaks can help us to feel more in control by giving us a chance to step away from our stressors and take a break. This can lead to improved mental health and a greater sense of empowerment.

12. Improved relationships

Stress can often negatively impact our relationships, as we may find it difficult to communicate or connect with others. This can lead to problems such as social isolation and conflict. Taking regular microbreaks can help to improve our relationships by giving us a chance to relax and de-stress. This can lead to improved communication and a stronger connection with others.

Tips for Incorporating Microbreaks into Your Workday

Tips for Incorporating Microbreaks into Your Workday

Make a plan: The first step to incorporating micro-breaks into your day is to make a plan. Decide when you will take them, how long they will be, and what you will do during them. This will help you stay on track and make the most of your breaks.
Get up and move: One of the best ways to refresh during a break is to get up and move. Take a lap around the office, do some stretches, or take a quick walk outside. Your blood flow will help you feel more energized and ready to tackle the rest of your workday.
Step away from the screen: If you can, try to step away from your screen during your microbreak. This will give your eyes a break and help you avoid feeling drained. Instead, focus on something like a book, magazine, or conversation.
Take a breather: Deep breathing is another great way to relax and recharge during a break. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths for a minute or two. You may even want to add some visualization exercises to help you calm down and refocus.
Eat healthy snacks: If you get hungry during the day, try to reach for healthy snacks that will give you energy without weighing you down. Fresh fruit, nuts, and yogurt are all great options to help you power through the rest of your workday.
Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is essential for keeping your energy levels up. Ensure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially during your microbreaks. This will help you stay focused and avoid any afternoon sluggishness.
Avoid distractions: It can be tempting to check our phones or social media accounts during a break, but this can make us more stressed. Instead, try to focus on things that relax and rejuvenate you. Listening to music, reading, or spending time in nature are all great ways to de-stress and recharge.
Get back to work refreshed: After taking a microbreak, you should feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your workday. If you find that you’re still feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a few minutes to reassess your goals and priorities. This will help you get back on track and make the most of the time you have left.
Take a quick power nap: If you’re feeling especially fatigued, consider taking a quick power nap. A few minutes of shut-eye can help you feel more alert and ready to take on the rest of your day.
Do some light stretching or yoga poses: Light stretching or yoga poses are another great way to rejuvenate your body and mind during a break. These exercises can help you release tension, improve circulation, and boost energy levels.
Listen to calming music: Listening to calming music is a great way to relax and de-stress during a break. Whether you choose classical music, jazz, or something else entirely, make sure it’s something that makes you feel good.

The Bottom Line

Taking microbreaks throughout the workday can improve your mental and physical well-being, help you stay focused, and make you more productive. If you're not already taking them, start incorporating them into your daily routine and see how much of a difference they can make.