6 Easy Ways to Incorporate Short Breaks into Your Work Day

                                              By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC




It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the projects you are juggling at work. Concentrating for extended periods of time can be draining, both physically and emotionally and can result in a tired mind, aching muscles, and a complete lack of energy.


What can you do to rest and revive yourself for short periods of time during your work day while still being productive?


Check out these suggestions for incorporating short breaks into your daily work routine:

1. Close your eyes and listen to three songs on your iPhone. Do you need some time to relax and regroup or do you need a song that will get you pumped and going again? Choose the appropriate music and listen to a couple of songs.  

  • Let your stress float away and clear your mind as you let the music flow in.
  • Music soothes the body and soul. After three songs, you’ll be surprised at how relaxed you feel. You’ll regain the strength necessary to make it through the rest of the day.

2. Shut your office door, prop your feet, and lean back. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and count backwards from 50 to 1. This little exercise works wonders. Just resting your eyes for a little while can leave you feeling refreshed.

3. Take a brisk 10-minute walk. No matter how big or small your office, you can always take a stroll around the building. If you need some fresh air, go outside and walk around the block. Getting your blood pumping at an optimum level will make you feel revitalized!

4. Splash cool water on your face. Go to the restroom, splash cool water on your face and wrists, and then dry them off. Sometimes, cool stimulation to those areas is not only refreshing, but it can also wake you up if you're feeling sleepy.  

  • If you prefer, wet a paper towel with cool water and blot your face, neck, arms, and wrists to stimulate your senses.
  • It’s amazing how much this little break can perk you up and allow your positive energy to flow again.

 5Relax and rejuvenate with a power nap. If your employer allows you a 15-minute break in the afternoon, use it to take a nap. Even if you don’t usually take naps, give it a try.

  •  Set your cell phone alarm for ten minutes and try to snooze. If you have your own office, close your door, get comfortable in your chair, and grab a few minutes of shut eye. 
  • When the alarm goes off, you will still have five minutes left to take a brief walk around your department, grab a cold, refreshing drink of water, or have quick chat in the break room.


6. Change the scenery. You might break out of your rut when you’re able to change your view.

  •  If you work in a large office, try working in the conference room. You can even try sitting in a different chair or on the couch in your office.
  • If you work from home, take your laptop outside and sit on the porch to work. Or try working in the living room today if you're the only one home.  There are many cafes and coffee shops that are nice to work at too. You will be laser focused because you won’t have the same distractions that you do at home.

Although work can be stressful, there are many ways you can incorporate a bit of down time throughout the day.


Use music, deep breathing techniques, walking, cool water splashes, power napping, and scenery changes in order to keep yourself alert and focused. Taking some time throughout the day to invest in your well-being will help you be more productive in the long run and prevent you from burning out. Give it a try. See how it works for you.

Additional Resources

8 Benefits of Spending Time Alone

8 Ways to Get 5 Minutes to Yourself

10 Healthy Ways to Reduce Stress

10 Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

Burnout Relief Strategies

Manage Your Time Like a Boss

The 10 Most Common Time Management Mistakes

Talk Yourself Out of Stress

Why are Women so Bad at Finding "Me" Time?

Why You Shouldn't Feel Guilty for Prioritizing Yourself