Want to Perform With Purpose at Work? Take a Bliss Break! (or 12)
As a corporate trainer, leadership coach and yogi, I'm all too familiar with the physical and physiological dangers of working at a desk. Tense, hunched over a computer, sipping on coffee…yep…we all know that it's terrible for us. But when a deadline is lurking, we are all guilty.
Have you heard of microbreaks? Microbreaks are regular, small, biologically meaningful breaks from being stuck in one position at work.
Even when we're sitting still, our postural muscles are working to support the upper body and head. When these muscles face prolonged exertion, fatigue and even injuries can develop. Microbreaks can help avoid these injuries.
I’m a big fan of microbreaks as I have difficulty sitting still for too long. Essentially, the idea is that every 15-20 minutes you stand, stretch, maybe even take a quick walk before sitting back and down and resuming your work.
The concept is not new. Enlightened teachers encourage kids to take "brain breaks" to boost concentration when they're going off task. Studies show that when schoolchildren are allowed to stand and move, memory, attention, mood, and academic achievement all improve.
In fact, movement breaks are crucial to all of us because you stretch your spine, get the blood circulating, and change your physiological state. All wins!
But…what about your wellbeing? What about your spirit?
Take a Bliss Break (or 12)
I define a bliss break as a break in your task that impacts body, mind, AND spirit. A bliss break is a regular, small, biologically meaningful break that gives your body, mind, and spirit a moment to be in complete and utter bliss. You stop working on the task you are doing, and take a total break.
Your mind gets a break from the task, your body gets a break by walking, moving or standing, and your soul gets a break by doing something that makes you rejoice.
Essentially, you motivate yourself to complete a task by granting yourself a quick mental vaca. If you love golf, perhaps you finish your task and then read about the latest and greatest in the world of golf.
If you love fashion, complete your task and read through your favorite fashion blogs.
If you work from home, go over and cuddle with your dog. Essentially, you reward yourself (time boxed of course) with something that makes you feel elated after you finish a task.
If you find it difficult to break from an ongoing project, quickly jot down what you need to do after the break so you don't need to hold the next step in your memory.
Bliss breaks are a must. Here’s why:
They require some sort of movement. Step away from the desk, talk a walk and do something you enjoy (eg. listen to your fav podcast). As you move, you change the physiological state and get the blood moving, just like microbreaks; however, you are adding a component of joy.
When you are stuck, I mean stuck… you can’t finish a task because your mind is not inching forward with a solution or you just can’t think, taking a regularly scheduled break and doing something completely different can actually help ignite creativity, per the March issue of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
These small interval breaks filled with something you enjoy allow you to motivate yourself to complete the tasks that don’t give you as much joy. It’s essentially a self-motivating vehicle to get things done!
Bring Bliss Breaks to Your Workplace
One of my clients strategically placed the printer upstairs so when printing is required, everyone must walk upstairs. And, of course, the printer is near an office that always has dance music on. For a moment, as you pick up a print-out you are psychologically transported to a fun environment.
If you are a leader of an organization or a manager of a team, what can you do to ensure your team takes bliss breaks? If you are an individual contributor, how will you remind yourself to take a bliss break?
Give it a try and let me know in the comments how it works for you.