Why it’s important to take a break

As a busy, career-driven individual, it’s so easy to have this never-ending to-do list that you are consistently working on. You tell your friends and loved ones that you don’t have time to spend with them because you have “so much to do”. You feel that you can’t take a break because then you will be behind at work, or your to-do list will get longer. We’ve all been there.

But it’s so incredibly important to take a break from work, even though it may seem counterproductive. We know that it feels like you just don’t have time to take a break, but we’re going to give you 8 reasons why you need to!

Avoiding burnout

This first one is an obvious one, but people often underestimate how quickly burnout can creep up on you. You may seem fine – chugging down pints of coffee to keep yourself awake, and still able to type away at your computer. But what you don’t realise is that your quality of work is seriously reduced, and your body is not happy with how you’re treating it.

Signs of burnout can include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being emotionally overwhelmed
  • Inability to stay focused
  • Lacking motivation
  • General exhaustion

If you start to feel any of the above, you owe it to yourself to take a break, before you get too sick and then you definitely won’t have the ability to do any work!

Breaks help you reset and re-evaluate

When you’re constantly involved in something, you sometimes can’t get a clear picture of what is going on. You start to lose sight of the bigger, more strategic vision. By taking a break, you can step back from the thick of it all and re-evaluate.

Is what you’re doing actually the right way to handle things? If you’re working this much, then something isn’t right. Can you delegate any of the work to a teammate? Can you approach things in a different way that makes life a little easier.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to detach yourself from things a bit, so you can clear your head and approach it with a fresh mind. 

Breaks help you increase productivity

This one definitely seems counterproductive, because how can stopping work help you get more work done?!

As we already discussed, you get better clarity on projects when you take breaks, so you can work much more effectively when you get back to work. Taking mini breaks during the day also allows you to set mini goals and deadlines, and helps you work harder to achieve them.

The Pomodoro Technique is a famous method to help increase productivity and encourages regular breaks. You work in 25-minute sprints, taking a 5-minute break after each sprint. Then, after you do 4 of them, you take a longer break. This method has been around since the 1980s, so there must be something to it if people are still raving about it today!

Improve your relationships

How many times has someone said to you: “You work too hard!” If you’re really ambitious and driven, you may take this as a compliment. However, the person saying it to you may be giving you a sign that they’re annoyed you don’t have time for them anymore.

If you have no time to take a break from work, then you probably have no time to socialise either! We’re not saying that you need to get down the pub and knock back several drinks to make your friends feel better, but there needs to be a balance.

Numerous relationships have been strained due to work and it’s so easy to let it happen. And if you have a lot on at work, you’re going to need these people who care for you by your side during the tough moments.

But taking a break to spend time with loved ones is so wholesome. The love and attention you get from them will leave you feeling positive and in a great place to tackle any challenge life may throw at you.

Maintain a healthier diet

Another direct downside of working long hours is that you start eating crap! If you’re too busy to take a break, the likelihood is, you’re probably going to order a takeaway and eat it at your desk while you work. Or maybe you’ll pop a microwaveable meal on instead or grab a Pot Noodle.

Either way, you’re not exactly going to be eating healthily, and you’re probably going to be spending a lot more money on food this way!

Even if you just took a break to cook dinner each night would be much healthier, directly from a food consumption perspective, but also mentally a lot healthier.

Get regular exercise

Working all day means a pretty sedentary lifestyle. Sitting at your desk for 12 hours a day is going to cause a whole host of problems. Even just going for a walk on your lunch break will help! Exercise can help you be more productive at work too. By increasing the blood flow to the brain, you’re more alert and have a lot more energy, thereby helping you increase productivity!

So, not only are you helping to improve your physical health and your mental health, by taking a break from work to do exercise, you’re actually helping yourself perform better at work too! 

Relieve yourself from stress 

Naturally, if you’re feeling stressed/overwhelmed at work, taking a break will help relieve that stress. But many driven people will say they feel more stressed doing this as they will always be worried about the work so long as it’s not done.

So, don’t think about it as stopping work and leaving things left undone, but approach it as you’re taking time to pursue a hobby/passion. What do you love doing outside of work? If you take regular breaks for a hobby or a passion of yours, you’re just bringing joy into your life alongside your work.

Hobbies and passions are known to be a great stress relief. You can then come back to work feeling much more refreshed and motivated. 

You’ll start hating what you do!

The reason you’re putting so much effort into your work is probably because you love what you do. If you don’t love it, then you’re stressing for nothing, and you should probably be rethinking your career path!

However, if this is your passion, then you want to give it your all. The problem is, if you consistently work with no breaks, you’ll find yourself really stressed and you’ll end up resenting your work and hating what you do. The moment you stop enjoying your work, you’ll produce poor quality output and you will generally be quite miserable.

So, do yourself a favour and TAKE A BREAK!