Despite the many tragic circumstances in the world right now, if you’re willing to look, this time at home has some positives, too. More family time, a slower pace, an opportunity to simplify our schedules and our purchasing, and the space to reevaluate what we really want from life to name a few.

One of the downsides? Every day can feel a bit like it’s running straight into the next, with little to differentiate day and evening, weekday and weekend.

Through it all, I’m learning the importance of being intentional with my days in a new way. We’re making a conscious effort to celebrate the weekends by doing a few special things (long family walks, naps, cooking a fun slow meal together, reading or gardening while our baby boy plays in the grass). And the main thing – setting work aside.

Even during the work week, it can be easy to power through without pausing to give your brain and body a break. Studies show you can really only be productive for about 90 mins at a time and after that you start to lose focus. A 20-30 minute break is suggested to get the renewal needed to hit your next task with alertness and focus (check out this article for more on the fascinating subject).

Finding creative ways to take little breaks has served me in my pre-quarantine working from home and are especially helpful now.

The temptation to scroll is real when you’re taking a break, and while a little bit of mindless IG scrolling isn’t bad, taking a real break will leave you feeling more awake, focused and freshly energized to finish your work. Put your phone on airplane mode, don’t check your email, and try out one of these 12 simple break ideas that will re-energize you + spread a little positivity.

1. Take a walk

There’s nothing like some fresh air and a quick stroll around the block to get some fresh air and give you a reset. Check the mail, take your pup with you and come back refreshed, focused and ready to work.

2. Get Organized

Pick one thing that’s on your plate and taking up mental space, and do a 10-minute brainstorm on it. Maybe it’s a plan to upgrade your outdoor space, reorganize your pantry or you’re needing to wrap your head around solving a conflict with a friend. I’m a list girl through and through and breaking it down and putting it to paper always helps me.

3. Make someone else’s day

Venmo a friend for lunch on you, call your grandma, send an encouraging text, drop off some cookies on your neighbor’s porch, write a thank you note – all simple things that go a long ways.

4. Whip up a snack

Chips aren’t the worst way to snack, but try to make something that will leave you feeling rejuevenated and energized. Nut butter and an apple, avo toast, hummus and carrots or a blueberry spinach smoothie are some go-tos.

5. Put on a fun song and dance

This one is great if you’re feeling like you really need an energy boost. Put on an upbeat tune and get that blood pumping and endorphins flowing.

6. Pull out the cookbooks

Flip through a favorite cookbook and pick a meal or two to try out that week. Here are some of our faves.

7. Go on a coffee run

…which right now may mean taking 10 steps to the kitchen. If you’re not able to go for a quick drive and pickup a cuppa to-go from your local shop, make a fun drink to get you excited to get back to work! Try out these yummy ideas for supercharging your tea or powering up your coffee.

8. Get some stretches in

Reverse that over-the-computer-hunch. Try out these desk stretches, or loosen tight hips with these.

9. Read a book

One of my favorite ways to take a break from staring at screens and hit refresh is to pick up a book. Even just a few pages is totally refreshing.

10. Take a cat nap

Sometimes a 15 – 20 minute snoozer is all you need.

11. Catch up on internet reads

Okay so this one does involve some screen time. Instead of distractedly scanning articles in the middle of work, open them in new tabs and come back to them later. On your break spend 15 minutes perusing your favorite lifestyle sites – a few of our faves: DORE, Goop, The Every Girl, Darling Mag, ManrepellerThe Coveteur and of course, yours truly.

12. Daydream

Don’t have 20 mins and need a quick reset at your desk? Visit this site and let your mind drift for two minutes — spend the time thinking about career goals or ideas for starting a business, what you’ll need to gather for the perfect bath later on, where you want to travel when all this is over etc. The site is a fun one, because it forces you to sit and relax. The moment you touch your keypad the timer starts over. After your two minutes are up, exit out and get back to work.

What are your favorite ways to hit reset in the middle of a work day?

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Comments (4)
  1. 1
    Camille Styles May 7, 2020 at 7:36 am

    Adam and I were just saying that one of the challenges of WFH life is forcing yourself to take a break – rather than powering through work in one sitting and then feeling burnt out. This is SUCH a great list, Hannah. Bookmarking to refer back to often!

  2. 2
    Suruchi Avasthi May 7, 2020 at 10:06 am

    I’ve been very into tackling 15 minute house chores like doing the dishes, wiping down the counters, folding laundry when I need a break from my desk. I find it really energizing to have accomplished something around the house and it makes my whole space seem so much more zen too! Love this list of ideas!

  3. 3
    Lini May 12, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    I love all these ideas! My favorite midday break is to take a blanket outside and lay in the sun for 20-30 minutes if the weather is nice. Especially with a bowl of fruit!

    • Camille Styles May 12, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      So lovely — I’m doing it tomorrow! Thanks for the inspiration <3