Are you a manager or a human resource’s manager? Do you sometimes wonder how to improve the performance of your team? Or how to help your team to have more focus on specific moments or tasks? This article is about some ideas to help you and your team to have more creative breaks and consequently to be more focus when it's needed, helping you and your team with ideas for a good and effective stress management.

“Unlike your cell phone, which popular wisdom tells us should be depleted to zero percent before you charge it fully to 100 percent, people instead need to charge more frequently throughout the day,” Hunter said.

Breaks were defined as “any period of time, formal or informal, during the workday in which work-relevant tasks are not required or expected, including but not limited to a break for lunch, coffee, personal email or socializing with co-workers, not including bathroom breaks.”

But why should you and your team take creative breaks:

  • You’re re-energized.
  • You regain focus.
  • You don’t feel as stressed.
  • You feel rested.
  • You feel more optimistic.
  • You will be more creative.
  • You feel more balanced.
  • You replenish your mental resources.
  • Your eyes rest by not looking at a screen.
  • You feel happier.
  • You’ll make fewer mistakes.

Many people wait until the afternoon to take a long break, although long breaks are good, short breaks are needed for a good and effective stress management, and a recent study from Hunter, E. M., & Wu, C. (2016), talks about taking breaks in the middle of the morning because they found that “when more hours had elapsed since the beginning of the work shift, fewer resources and more symptoms of poor health were reported after a break,” the study says. Therefore, breaks later in the day seem to be less effective.”

So, encourage your team and yourself to take frequent short and creative breaks. If you can track the levels of fatigue of your team and find the right time to advise them to take a better break (about that you can try Performetric trial). If not you can also: schedule some breaks across the day; follow some break strategies like 25/5 split (Pomodoro Technique), 50 on/10 off, 52 on/17 off or just give them the freedom to ask (or simply go) for creative breaks when they feel like they need it, to step away. If it isn’t possible for them to take creative breaks at that moment, recommend them to try changing positions. Something as simple as standing up for a quick stretch can make a significant impact on your body and your mind, helping with a good and effective stress management.
This study also advises that “finding something on your break that you prefer to do – something that’s not given to you or assigned to you – are the kinds of activities that are going to make your breaks much more restful, provide better recovery and help you come back to work stronger”.

We leave you with some ideas on how you can advise your team to take creative breaks to a good and effective stress management strategy:

  • Completely disconnect;
  • Snack on something healthy (not junk food), like nuts, apples, pears, blueberries, cheese … food with replenish glucose (good energy) or a square of dark chocolate also helps regulates levels of the stress hormone cortisol and stabilizes metabolism;
  • Get moving and do some exercise (take a walk, climb stairs, dance, do yoga, or simply stretch – just do something that gets’s your blood flowing. You’ll feel energized and refreshed);
  • Guided meditation (Letting go of what is, what was, and what will be and simply being in the present can provide a lot of clarity);

  • Listen to music;

  • Write poetry or in a journal, draw or paint;

  • Talk to colleagues;

  • Practice Gratitude - Gratitude sets off a certain chain of events. Once somebody expresses their gratitude, it motivates and energizes the recipient to return the favor to them or a stranger. - It’s known as the gratitude network;

  • You can also offer some toys like Dammit Doll Classic, for them to de-stress;

  • Play a board game (there is inevitably laughter, and this causes a rush of endorphins that reduces stress and anxiety);

  • Count Backward - When worries are running rampant, encourage them to try slowly counting to 10 and then back again to calm down or simply start on 100;

  • Squeeze a Stress Ball or Do a Feet massage with a Golf Ball (You can get an impromptu relaxing foot massage by rubbing your feet back and forth over a golf ball);

  • Encourage them to Start Planning a Vacation (taking a break from work and start browsing the web for some future vacation spots. Sometimes the whole fun of a trip is in the planning, anyway);

  • If you get out of ideas, just encourage them to do something that they don’t have in their list but that they really enjoy, and please share it with us!

Note: Reading emails and news – doesn’t count as creative breaks!