• Firdose Khan

Why Breaks are Important Now, More than Ever

Updated: May 2

If you’re a student, then chances are you have had to take online classes due to lockdowns last year. For many people, this means they have had more free time at their disposal - since they, for example, don’t need to commute.

Because of this, many people our age have started small businesses, running programs or begun volunteering; making use of all the extra time that they have. Since our lives have been moved online, we spend more time on the internet and social media, ‘connecting’ with other people and comparing ourselves to them.

While some people may find it easy to work from home, others may struggle. In our current circumstances, it’s not normal to achieve all of what you used to do. We’re under more stress, and with all the bad things happening in the world, it’s unrealistic to expect ourselves to simultaneously achieve more than what we used to - even if a few of our peers are able to do it.

It’s important to remember that we all have different capacities, different mental states, and different life situations. Now more than ever, people are saying “we’re all in this together!” and that “everyone’s in the same boat!,” but that isn’t always the case.

Take it easy if you’re struggling. Don’t compare yourself to others around you, or criticize yourself for unproductive things that you do. And if you don’t complete everything you want to do, don’t beat yourself over it. Adjust your expectations, and then give yourself a break.

The idea we need to achieve exactly as much as we did before, and even do more is ridiculous. If you can manage your workload, then good for you. If you can't, allow yourself a break and take a moment to recharge.

Infact, take as many breaks as you need, because there is nothing more wasteful than burning yourself out. In fact, the very act of burning out can make you feel worse about yourself. While it may seem counterproductive to take breaks, they are very important for productivity. Burning out is far worse than taking a 15 minute breather from work.

Here are some simple ways to take a break:

  1. Call a friend or relative. FaceTiming another person or even just speaking to them on the phone relieves stress and takes your mind off work.

  2. Turn off your screen! I know we are told this a lot, but it does really improve your mental health. Take a walk around the neighborhood; read a book; learn a new recipe; or do anything that doesn’t require you to be in front of a screen. Your eyes will thank you for it.

  3. Take a walk around the room, down the hallway or around the house. Simply walking indoors after a long period of time is good for your body and brain.

  4. Look out the window and drink a glass of water. By focusing on something far away, you reduce eye strain; by drinking water, you nourish your body.

I hope these tips help you.