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Brain Feeling Like Mush? Take Advantage of Your Work Breaks!

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You work in healthcare, so you’re well aware that taking breaks from activities that are physically and/or mentally straining helps you to reenergize and prevent injury. But, do you practice what you preach?

Chances are, the answer is no – or at least, not as much as you should. While your patients may benefit from the best care, with no holds barred in terms of what you’d do for them, are you taking care of yourself, too? Because, if not, in the long run, both your work and your well-being will suffer.

Why You Need Those Breaks

Just as feeling thirsty is your body’s way of begging for water, needing a break is a signal to give yourself some much-needed downtime.

  • Taking a break once an hour increases your productivity. Research supports this fact, noting that those who allow themselves a brief hourly diversion from work perform better than those who power through the day without stopping.
  • No matter how much you love your work, you need a break as creative fuel. It’s hard to find new ideas or insight when you work continuously, coming at things the same way all day long. Taking a step away is often just what you need to recharge.

In addition, taking breaks enables you to:

  • Reevaluate your goals for the day. By taking stock in what you’ve done and reminding yourself of what you want to complete before the day is over, you’re able to better set yourself up for success.
  • Prevent injury. Allowing your body to rest is especially important if your job involves physical labor. Twisting, bending, lifting or carrying can all take a toll. Sitting in one position for too long can cause muscle tension or create painful knots. Staring at a computer screen for extended periods can impact vision or cause headaches.

Make the Most of Your Breaks

When you take a break, you give your brain – along with the rest of your body – a rest. Specifically, this refers to the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which is responsible for logical thinking, executive functioning, and using willpower to override impulses.  A break gives your PFC a rest by switching brain activity to another area. These activities put those brain regions to good use:

  • A walking break can lead to more creative ideas than a sitting break.
  • Changing your environment. Leaving your workstation or unit and going to another area helps you to rest and switch gears.
  • Taking deep breaths. Even if it’s just for 30 seconds, taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on that breathing is a relaxing mini-meditation.

Helping you to build your career and be the best healthcare professional you can be is the mission of the entire team at MedicalPros Recruiting + Staffing. For nearly a quarter-century, we’ve been working with practitioners throughout the Northwest, offering resources, contacts and market intelligence to keep you at the top of your game. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

 

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