Everyone experiences stress in their lives. Some of the stresses are larger than others, and some stressors can even cause changes in our physical and/or mental state. Learning to keep your mental health in check by taking active breaks is key to managing the tough times in life.
Remembering to take even a few minutes for yourself can make a big difference in your energy and mood. These breaks can be incorporated throughout your day — and you can look forward to the benefits of taking active breaks, including:
Improved focus and concentration
Reduced stress and anxiety
Improved energy levels
Improved physical health
So what types of active breaks are we talking about here? Let’s explore 7 ways to incorporate active breaks to keep your mental health in check:
1. Take a walk. Nature can generate positive emotions. Getting outside for a breath of fresh air, even for a five or ten-minute walk, can get your blood pumping and give you a mood boost. Take some deep breaths for a bonus calming effect.
Meet a friend for coffee or tea. Making plans with a friend or family member can give you something to look forward to and also a chance to decompress or even talk through whatever you’re dealing with.
2. Make a new recipe. Learning to make something new can give you a fresh perspective and get you out of the normal food rut.
Start a gratitude journal. The simple act of writing down what you’re grateful for can boost your mood, enhance your sense of well-being, and put things in perspective. The decision to practice gratitude can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.
3.Do something you love. “Self-care” is a popular term for a reason — we can all benefit from taking time for ourselves to tune in to what we love and make those things part of our routine. Whether it’s reading, meditating, doing yoga, joining a team sport or just taking time to catch up with a loved one, giving yourself that gift of self-care can change your mood.
4. Sit in the sunlight. Boosting your sunshine and vitamin D consumption quota can truly benefit both your physical and mental health. Vitamin D deficiency can be a factor in multiple physical and mental illnesses, so why not grab that vitamin D during your day to reduce your risk factors? Research has found that exposure to nature can improve stress responses as well, so it’s a win if you can get some time in the sun (in a safe way).
5. Put it into your schedule. Blocking off at least a few minutes daily in your calendar can remind you to take those active breaks. Whether it’s taking 10 minutes in your morning to drink your coffee in peace and plan for your day, 20 minutes in the afternoon to listen to your favorite podcast, or a 30-minute evening walk with your pet, planning for it and making it a habit will help you actually take those daily breaks.
So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, take a quick break to recharge. Your mind and body will thank you for it!