Take a Smart Break — Not a Fake Break

Take a Smart Break — Not a Fake Break

What can help you refresh and recharge during the day? Take a smart break, says Terri Flint, PhD, LCSW, who is Intermountain's director of caregiver wellness. "A smart break is when you briefly pause what you're doing or thinking about (it's like pushing a pause button) to do something pleasant and relaxing," she says. "If it's a smart break, you'll feel a new surge of energy when you resume your activity."

"Fake breaks are when we don't stop thinking about our work or when we do something that's not really relaxing - we cruise around the internet, schedule a dentist appointment, or get distracted with another task. We can recognize it wasn't a helpful break because we don't feel refreshed when we attempt to resume the activity we left."

Science proves it isn't the quantity of break time that makes the difference, it's the quality. A 90-second smart break can be more effective than a 15-minute fake one. "That's good news for all of us who don't get formal breaks," Terri says.

"Experiment with smart break ideas to find what works best for you," she says. "Maybe it's listening to a favorite song, walking outside or down a long hallway, doing a few stretches, or just sitting quietly and recounting things you're grateful for. Discover the difference in your mood and energy when you intentionally take a smart break."