When I first started working from home about 14 years ago, I promised myself I would take a proper lunch break every day. Which means one of my favourite daily habits quickly became sitting on the couch while having lunch with Oprah, and after a few years, with Ellen.
These days I usually eat lunch with my husband, sitting at the dining table. It’s not quite the same (and given he is going to read this I’m not saying which I prefer…)! #loveyou ☺
Benefits of resting your brain
We make over 30,000 decisions a day, so the cognitive load on our mind is immense. It’s hardly surprising then that our brains thrive when they get to take a break! If we don’t take time to stop during the day, our performance, memory, moods and health all suffer.
Our brains have two modes of processing.
The first mode is when we are focused and concentrating on tasks, solving problems and processing incoming information. The focused mode also occurs when we scroll through Instagram or Facebook, do work that requires us to think and when we watch TV.
The second mode is the default mode network. This switches on when our minds start to wander – such as when we are in the shower or out for a walk. It’s no surprise that when our brain is in default mode that we get some of our best ideas.
Did you know Steve Jobs used to go for a walk every day? He was famous in his community not only for starting Apple, but also for his long walks, which he used for exercise, contemplation, problem solving and meetings with colleagues.
Our brains work best when we give them the opportunity to switch between the two modes. Something that happens with less frequency when we are glued to our phones… or watch a sneaky episode of the latest Netflix binge at lunch.
Here’s how you can rest your brain during the day:
- take a 20-minute power nap (set an alarm) – my favourite!
- go for a walk or a swim
- close your eyes and taking some deep breaths
- go outside and get some fresh air
- do something creative with your hands such as draw or knit.