It’s been a very busy time at work for me lately, and that leads to an internal pressure to keep up with everything and not let myself get behind or have to ask for support to complete my work. This is problematic in itself, that I am driven to appear perfect and able to keep up even when I can’t. That’s something I’m working on. And one way I’m doing that involves breaks.
I am fortunate in that I work at a university with a culture that generally supports work/life balance. I also work in a department full of amazing people that’s housed under a department run by an amazing dean who really cares about how we’re doing. This means that I’m discouraged from working late, working through lunch, or generally over-working myself. They want me to have time to rest and recharge.
I’ve been either skipping my lunch break or taking a much shorter one the past couple weeks as I try to stay on top of everything during my busiest time of year. Yes, it’s weird for a university employee to be busiest over the summer, but my role is a bit backward that way. I have been eating lunch, my body wouldn’t let me get away with skipping meals, but I haven’t been taking that time to step away from work and think about something else for a while like I usually do.
Breaks are important for your brain. And not just long ones like your lunch break or not thinking about work overnight. There’s science to support that small breaks, like watching a funny cat video or taking a short walk, are good for your brain. A lot of the advice I get as a writer about how to get past a block involves a short break like a snack or a walk.