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Top Ten Ways to Take a Mental Health Break

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by monicadear

When you're in a process of "flow" -- where you're in the creative zone and you groove with your work, your brain facilitates ongoing quality production, and time passes quickly, you're in a good state. Keep up the good work!

However, if you're finding yourself daydreaming or drifting off, here are some activities to help give your mind a break and get you refreshed enough to power onto the next step in your project. Take a mental health break to reset your train of thought and get you back on track.

1) Deep breathing. Taking deep, full breaths will help oxygenate your blood supply. Sit at your desk, put your arms over your head and stretch out your neck -- then do deep breathing to get your mind reconnected to your body.

2) Go for a walk. A brisk 10-minute walk helps you shake off any doldrums and gives your energy level a boost. Great for mid-morning or post-lunch slumps. Keep walking shoes under your desk and power around the block or to a nearby park.

3) Peppermints. Bring a sprig of mint to chew on, or stock up on a supply of peppermint chews or candies - they help freshen your breath and give you a little temporary clarity. Use in moderation - great for pepping up prior to a meeting or presentation.

4) Jumping jacks. I do this with kids and teens - sitting in one position cramps your body and mind up. A hundred jumping jacks brings back the "flow" and gets the blood running. Try it.

5) Water/Coffee. Are you sure you're drinking water today? How about a few sips from your water bottle. You do have a water bottle nearby, right (preferably an eco-friendly, sustainably-created one)? Perhaps you need to make a nice hot cup of coffee or tea to help center yourself and give you some additional strength to get through the day?

6) Online Games. If you recharge by taking some time off to indulge in a favorite video game, finding an arcade-type program, or playing online Bingo, go ahead and take a brief break to play the game. Give yourself a chance to use another part of your mind before getting back to work.

7) Stretch. Yoga, Pilates, and core exercises can help strengthen your body. Take a few minutes to go to the break room or multi-purpose room and stretch out all your limbs. Try some neck rolls and scalp massage to gently encourage circulation to your head.

8) Funny videos. Depending on your work policy, it may be okay for you to surf YouTube for a bit. Find something fun and reboot your mind by zoning out and watching for a few minutes. It will give you another focus. Set the timer and limit yourself to how many videos you'll watch!

9) Nap. Bill Gates at Microsoft was thought to have said "If they want we will give them a sleeping bag, but there is something romantic about sleeping under the desk. They want to do it." - If you're sleepy, you may benefit from a nap during your lunch break. Philosophers, thinkers, chemists, and artists are known to have figured out problems in their dreams. Maybe "forty winks" will help you revive, remember, retrieve information? Figure out your boss's nap policy - or advocate for a new one -- before you fall asleep at your desk!

10) Facebook. We know you like connecting through social media. If your workplace allows it, take ten minutes to review your wall, post to your Twitterfeed, or pin items to your Pinterest account, or write a brief blog post. It will help you rev up your mental engine and give you something fun to do.

Again, set the timer so you don't over-indulge! By giving yourself permission to take a break, you can come back to the task at hand with renewed vim and vigor. Make sure to clarify break schedule and policies with your office or human resources BEFORE indulging in any of the above.


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