It’s no secret that stress, packed schedules and the drama of everyday life can take a toll on our minds. But taking a needed brain break can revive your spirit, allowing you to more confidently take on whatever’s in front of you. Giving yourself the time and space to get your brain the rest it needs can make you calmer, less reactive and happier as a result. Put into practice the following tips to start seeing a major difference in your mental function.
1. Begin a Meditation Practice
The benefits of meditation are plentiful, from decreasing anxiety to increasing your capacity for empathy. And because some of your hard-working brain functions shut down during mediation, giving yourself the gift of a regular practice can help your mind get the break it needs. A mindfulness meditation practice in particular, in which you pay attention to your breath and connect to yourself in the current moment, will slow the ticker tape of chatter in your head, allowing for a true brain break.
If meditation is a bit too woo-woo for you, just resting your eyes can be an effective way to allow your brain to recharge. Getting rid of visual stimulus — your computer screen, the hustle of the city or even the distractions within your own home — gives your mind a change to rest and reset.
2. Unplug from Technology
While our devices keep us connected and informed, they’re always commanding our attention with pings and updates that make it hard for us to fully check out. Get away from digital demands by ditching your smartphone and closing your laptop for a set period of time each day. This will help you shut your brain off from work orders and personal requests, while also keeping you from going down the social media rabbit hole.
3. Get Enough Sleep
It’s safe to say that sleeping is the number one way we recharge our bodies and get that necessary brain break. You literally can’t live without logging some hours of snooze time each night. Studies show that not getting enough sleep — experts recommend anywhere from seven to eight hours a night — can make you feel on edge and cause you to lose cognitive focus.
If you’re not able to get the recommended hours of sleep regularly, try to take a 90-minute nap to make up for the lost shut-eye. If you’re really pressed for time, just ten minutes of snoozing can give your brain a good enough break.
4. Take a Walk Outside
Being outdoors connects us to nature and ourselves, however taking a walk outside can also help our brains recharge as well. Whether you go for a meandering stroll through your neighborhood or embark on a local hike, being active and getting outside both boost brain function and give you a chance to reboot your mind. Even doing a lap around your office building could provide the mental check-out you need.
5. Allow Yourself To Daydream
You may have done free writing exercises back in school, where you’re encouraged to jot down whatever comes to mind, allowing your brain to wander. As adults, we tend to overthink, analyze and even edit our own thoughts, making once common practices like daydreaming nearly obsolete in our day-to-day. Take yourself back to a childlike mindset and allow your mind to roam free. Try practicing what’s called “positive constructive daydreaming,” which encourages you to focus on something concrete — like a past vacation or a goal or wish you have — and let your brain wander through and around the memories or ideas.
Giving yourself permission to take a brain break and allowing your mind to rest will bring you renewed energy and focus to tackle life’s challenges — and enjoy yourself more every day as a result.