Our overall wellness is becoming a bigger priority for lots of us, but keeping yourself in good shape is about more than hitting the gym and drinking mysteriously coloured vegetable smoothies every day – especially when it comes to workplace wellbeing. It’s also about finding ways to keep your brain in top condition.
Prioritising mental health in our daily lives is a big part of what we should be doing more, but so is boosting brain power so that we’re firing on all cylinders and feeling our best more often.
With that in mind (if you’ll pardon the pun) there are two really easy ways to boost brain power that we’d like to share with you…
Take microbreaks for big results
Working constantly throughout the day can be a drain on focus, concentration and alertness, but what if microbreaks were encouraged? A chance to take ten minutes away from the desk and do something differently or practice some mindfulness?
We carried out some research to see whether taking small breaks from work throughout the day can offer a pick-me-up, comparing the mindset and performance of employees offered microbreaks versus those who weren’t.
The results speak for themselves, so let’s take a look at some of the benefits we saw.
- Mindfulness breaks increase decision-making powers by 6%, and reduce stress by a lovely 7%.
- 75% of the people we worked with told us that they think a ten-minute mindfulness break made them more productive.
- Active breaks improved decision-making by 5%, slightly less than mindfulness breaks, but also made it easier to filter out distractions afterwards.
- A whopping 88% said that an active break made them less tired at work, counteracting the fatigue that so easily sets in during the Monday to Friday routine.
But what about the group who carried on with their noses to the grindstones? Nearly three quarters said that not having breaks made them more tired and less productive, indicating a negative impact on employee wellbeing.
Whether you choose to have active mindful breaks throughout the day, just taking that time will make you feel better and fight burnout.
Get as much natural light and good sleep as possible
This may be beyond your control, but filling your day with natural light, either from windows or trips outside (during a microbreak, perhaps). A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM) showed that a greater exposure to natural light throughout out the day helped employees to sleep better and more deeply.
Now, we all like a good sleep, but the benefits in this case are that those involved in the study were more active and focused, and were in better health because of it.
Why does it work? Well, it’s all down to our circadian rhythms, the day/night cycle that forms the body’s internal clock, telling us when to sleep and when to wake. It’s a phenomenon that’s long been examined, but the JCSM’s study is one of the first to link daylight levels at work to our circadian rhythm and the better health and brain power a regular rhythm promotes.
So, get as near to the window as you can, take ten minutes to be active or mindful (whichever you fancy!) and enjoy the benefits of boosted brainpower and feeling better every day.