We are slowing all getting back from summer holiday and back to our daily routines. Personally, before I took off on holiday, I had the pleasure of hosting a workshop for a management team on mental health as a performance tool. The summer holiday was right around the corner, so it was natural to talk about their e-mail culture now that the summer holiday was right there. It was quickly that an unhealthy pattern appeared when we started talking about their e-mail culture from a mental health perspective.
In a modern everyday life where we are all so used to being connected to the online universe it can be hard to totally turn it off and go offline – even when you are on holidays.
Why take a break?
But why is it so important for the brain that we take time to have both long and short breaks? With this blog post I would really like to try and explain why it is so important to take breaks – so that you can keep your performance high!
It all started as a “holiday reflection” and it came to mind when I had been totally “offline” with my family in the beautiful Tuscan highlands. During the holiday my 2-year old had learned to say “ugh” when he was not allowed to have an ice cream. My 5-year old demonstrated her almost perfectly developed temper at all imaginable and unthinkable ways and nnow my 8-year old, and this is where the point is, had used a lot of time on asking:
“Are you ready?”
“Try to count to…”
“Are you looking?”
“How many seconds was that?”
In addition to the quotes above something very interesting happened with the stories my 8-year old told me and THIS is exactly where the point is to be found! First he spoke to me about the dolphin-week, then he told me about soccer practice and after this something interesting happened: he began to speak about everyday things that happened way back in the past and in his memories, and it was at this moment that I realized something very interesting.
What happens inside the brain?
The point is closely related to the brain’s way of thinking and processing knowledge. We mainly talk about the brain having to ways of thinking – a fast and a slow way of thinking – system 1 and system 2. For example, you use system 1 when you have to answer what two plus two equals and in other words you do not need to use very much conscious consideration which system 2 in contrast requires. System 2 takes a lot of effort to use but it is where we make big decisions and solve complex tasks. A deciding factor in how efficiently you can use system 2 is how many breaks you give your brain.
In order for you to benefit from all your knowledge and experience in life, it requires breaks in everyday life and during the holidays! Put differently? If you are to have full value of the knowledge that you have spent many years and energy gathering, then it is important that you give yourself breaks.
A break can be an abstract concept, because does that mean that you just have to look up and stare out of the window? It works differently for people, but at WeFocus we have developed the constructive pause which is an effective tool for giving you brain time off in order for it to perform its best.