Benefits of Taking a Break from Work to Reduce Stress

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 11, 2022

Published October 18, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are several reasons you may want to take a break from work. Taking a break from work can help you be more productive while increasing your overall well-being. Whether it's because you're stressed or simply want to spend more time with family, learning how to ask for a break professionally can keep you refreshed in your role. In this article, we highlight the benefits of taking a break from work, discuss how you can spend time during your break, and provide tips to help you overcome workplace stress.

Benefits of taking a break from work

You may need a break from work if you have difficulty focusing, feel a lack of motivation, or find you're getting sick more often. Taking a break can be helpful to fixing all of those situations and improving your mood and enthusiasm for your job. Here are some reasons taking a break is important:

Regular breaks can help you be more productive

While taking breaks may seem irrational to increase productivity, it is an effective method of increasing productivity. Time away from your workspace can help you regain focus and energy. Actively scheduling regular breaks provides you with a set of deadlines to work toward, which may motivate you to complete a task more efficiently.

Breaks can improve mental health

Taking regular breaks from work can reduce the chance of having mental health problems such as anxiety. It can also lead to reduced stress, better health, and increased work morale, ensuring that you don't experience burnout. These can lead to better relationships with your colleagues and ultimately increased workplace productivity. Taking one day to several workdays off may help you in resetting your mind and regaining clarity.

Related: 10 Ways To Handle Anxiety About a New Job (With Tips)

Exercise breaks can maintain physical health

Exercise is a critical activity that professionals may perform during their breaks. These may be quick activities such as standing and stretching at your desk or more involved exercises such as walking around the building. The benefits of exercise to physical health are obvious, and even a little each day can help you enjoy the benefits. It can help you in relieving stress and preventing health problems such as high blood pressure and musculoskeletal problems. Employees that are healthy are also more productive, so it's important to take regular, short exercise breaks from work.

Improves personal relationships

We can strengthen our personal relationships when we focus our attention on them. Taking a break from work is important, so you can spend time with friends and family. While your career is critical, it's as important to concentrate on your relationships. You can allow yourself a random three-day weekend to spend with family or friends.

Maintains work-life balance

Having a life outside of work filled with hobbies and interests is usually a sign of an excellent work-life balance. By engaging in activities we enjoy, we help reduce stress, become more relaxed, and are better equipped to cope with challenges both within and outside of our employment. Finding a work-life balance takes time, dedication, and support, but once achieved, you may enjoy a full life both at work and at home.

Related: A Helpful Guide to Having a Great Work Life Balance

It takes your attention away from work

Taking a break helps the mind to disengage from work and concentrate on something else for a bit. This is helpful because when you divert your attention away from a problem, you frequently come up with solutions you haven't considered previously. For example, employees who are perplexed by an issue are more likely to find a solution after they shift their concentration away from it. This increases your productivity as you are taking a much-needed mental break and allowing your mind to recharge.

How to take a break from work

Taking breaks enables you to be more productive, as opposed to continuously working and becoming distracted. While breaks are necessary, how you use them is more critical. Here are some ways to take a break from work:

1. Take vacations

Taking a vacation is one of the most common ways to take a break from work, and if you're paid an annual salary, your employer typically offers at least two weeks of vacation per year. The essential factor to having a restful vacation is to prioritize rest while you're away. Let the vacation be about spending time with yourself and your family. Make sure you take the time to balance activities and leisure so you can feel refreshed when returning to work.

2. Consider staycations

Staycations are becoming more and popular as there is an increased demand for affordable vacations. A staycation is about enjoying home without the pressures of work. The essential part of a refreshing staycation is the same as a relaxing vacation. This includes cleaning, office work, or other routine tasks. You may switch off phones, ignore emails, and make a point of resting and playing at home, or you can stay at a nearby hotel.

3. Have fun during a playcation

What differentiates between a staycation and a playcation is that staycations are often more focused on rest and relaxation, while playcations are more about enjoyment and fun. Play enhances productivity, lowers stress, stimulates brain function and the mind while increasing creativity. While you're playing, you can also strengthen your relationships and connection to others.

4. Ask for support

Accepting support from trusted friends and family can help you handle stress more effectively. Your company may also provide stress management tools through an employee assistance program, which may include online material, accessible counselling, and referrals to mental health experts if appropriate. If you still feel overwhelmed by work stress, you can choose to consult a mental health professional who can assist you in managing stress more effectively and in developing healthy behaviours.

Tips for overcoming workplace stress

It's important to take regular breaks from work to overcome both mental and physical stress. Here are some tips for overcoming workplace stress:

Keep track of the sources of your stress

For a week or two, keep a notebook to track which events cause you the most amount of stress and how you respond to them. Making notes may assist you in seeing patterns between your stressors and your responses to them. Keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and observations about the environment. Include in your journal the people, circumstances, the location, and your response to those triggers.

Develop effective responses to stress

Instead of turning to fast food or alcohol to relieve anxiety, make an effort to make healthy choices when you feel pressure from work. Exercise is an excellent stress reliever. While yoga is a great option, any type of physical activity is helpful. Make time for your hobbies and favourite activities as well. Whether it's reading a book, attending a concert, or playing games with your family, find time for the activities that you enjoy.

Sleeping well is very important for successful stress management. Develop good sleep patterns by limiting caffeine intake late in the day and avoiding stimulating activities such as computer and television use late at night.

Be clear on work requirements

Vague job requirements are a known cause of work stress. If you're uncertain about what your manager or team lead expects of you, or if the demands for your position change frequently, you may get anxious. It might be beneficial to speak with your supervisor. You can use this time to review expectations and strategize on how to meet them. This can help both of you cope with stress and improve your productivity.

Keep yourself organized

It is important to be organized in your job role because it can significantly reduce your work-related stress. Being organized with your time means that you can get to work earlier and be more efficient in your role. Keeping your personal and work life organized can also help you avoid the negative effects of disorganization and increase your productivity at work.

Related: Why Is Time Management Important? And How to Manage Your Time

Have a conversation with your manager

Employee health and wellbeing relate to workplace productivity, so your manager has a reason to create an atmosphere that promotes employee well-being. Start by communicating honestly with your supervisor. This can help you devise an effective strategy for coping with the stresses you've identified in order to perform well on the job.

While some elements of the plan may assist you in developing skills such as time management, others may include identifying resources that you can use or clarifying work expectations. It can also involve obtaining necessary resources, asking for support from colleagues, enhancing your work to include more challenging tasks, or making physical changes to your workspace.

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