Many of us are conditioned to respond to stress by buckling down and working harder, but doing so can actually add to your stress levels, hinder you from performing optimally, and lead to eventual burnout. Instead of powering through, try taking a brief time out the next time you feel overwhelmed at work. Researchers say that taking routine mini-breaks during the day can help shift your perspective when you feel stressed, and doing so can help you return to your desk feeling recharged and refocused. 

The key to incorporating a time out into your day is carving out a few minutes to take your mind off of your workload to focus on something else — whether that’s putting time on your calendar to call a family member, listening to a song that makes you happy, or scheduling 10 minutes for meditation. The little time out may sound like an excuse to procrastinate, but science tells us that taking regular mini-breaks can help us work smarter, and come up with more creative ideas. 

The point of the exercise is to weave a built-in pause to your workday — one that allows you to take a moment for yourself, even if you think you can’t afford it.

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Author(s)

  • Rebecca Muller

    Senior Editor and Community Manager

    Thrive

    Rebecca Muller Feintuch is the Senior Editor and Community Manager at Thrive. Her previous work experience includes roles in editorial and digital journalism. Rebecca is passionate about storytelling, creating meaningful connections, and prioritizing mental health and self-care. She is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism.