Low inTENsity Work Break Ideas

When was the last time you took a work or study break? Breaks are important and it seems like we could all benefit from one right now. According to researchers, it’s actually recommended that you take time to do tasks that allow your mind to wander. They are important because they allow you to restore your energy and ability to focus on tasks that require intensive brainpower. Additionally, breaks put you into a “diffuse mode of thinking” where your brain works “in the background” by connecting ideas and forming new ones.

However, there are good and bad ways to spend your break time. For example, scrolling through social media may cause more anxiety which defeats the purpose of a break. Instead, here are ten tips to try when your work or study session becomes a bit too intense.

  1. Connect with nature: Go for a walk or simply enjoy the outdoors from the indoors.
  2. Drink water: Stay hydrated by refilling a reusable water bottle.
  3. Eat a light snack: If you’re feeling a bit hungry, grab a healthy snack like carrots and hummus. Avoid heavy snacks that might make you feel sleepy.
  4. Declutter: Whether you clean up your physical work area or clear out your emails, decluttering is always satisfying. Plus, a clean area can promote productivity.
  5. Meditate: This is a great way to collect your thoughts and calm yourself down.
  6. Get moving: Stretch, walk, workout. Moving your body is good for your health and is a great way to clear your mind.
  7. Reach out to friends: Send a random “hello” to someone you haven’t talked to in a while and see what everyone else is up to.
  8. Read a fun book: For some new reading suggestions, try one of our #SundayReads on Twitter.
  9. Fold origami using recycled paper: Use some scrap paper and see what you can create.
  10. Create a playlist: Spend your break forming the ultimate playlist. For some suggestions visit here.

Be sure to take breaks regularly. Depending on how cognitively strenuous your work is, the recommended break time is between 5 and 20 minutes. The popular Pomodoro Technique is a study method that divides study sessions into 25 minutes of productivity with 5-minute breaks. After four sessions, you can take a longer break of 30 minutes.


Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022

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