The importance of taking a break with bonsai
There is no doubt that focus and effort is typically rewarded with success. The idea of a productive day can be equally thrilling as it may be daunting but, regardless of the emotive effect, your productivity is important for work. However, how one can measure productivity can be questioned (ie to what standard has this work been carried out? ).
Thorough research has shown that switching between both focus and unfocused states are vital for an optimised mind, allowing you to actually enhance your creativity, develop your resilience and actually make better decisions.
To stay at your most productive, you need to be in the right state of mind, which of course, is only possible when your mental health is at its best. We mean that mental health should be, without a question, a priority for those who want to excel with their work.
"I work fine throughout my working hours – Do I still need a break?"
Well, lets look at the extremes of both.
Excessive focus takes it's toll on the mind and drains enough energy to make you lose self-control. This low energy state can also make you more impulsive, resulting in poor judgement and decision making. From a collaborative standpoint, willingness to help others can also take a hit.
If you are not focused at all, the results are fairly straight forward: The task you seek to achieve may be impaired or not completed at all. Some people are unable to focus on tasks and this may be the result of a chronic condition or lifestyle change such as excess stress - check our our Managing Stress blog for a little more information.
So yes, taking regular breaks to find that middle ground seems to be the best way for you to keep the mind running at its peak. A number of reports even state that a well slept, stress free adult mind is limited to 90 minutes of concentration, before warranting a 15minute break, but your mind is only at its optimum for the first 25 minutes.
With this information in mind, the question is: Are you doing enough to ensure your mind is in tip top condition?
"Ok, I see the science behind this. What is it I should be doing?"
In an effort to sound as cliché as possible: Running water never grows stale... be water, my friend.
We are unable to give you a schedule due to the endless variables of occupations, environmental limitations, etc. However, what we can advise is letting your first break be a time of self-reflection. Assess what it is you may benefit from or find a gap within your own everyday wellbeing.
Having trodden a similar path, this early assessment proved to be incredibly exciting. Actually spending 10 minutes to cross reference what you feel you need to do, against, what you feel could be enjoyable, can even lead to a wonderful new hobby - which is essentially how The Happy Shrub came to be. Working with nature brings a whole host of additional benefits for the mind, which is why we are such advocates of dabbling in the art of bonsai, so check our blog around Plant Cultivation for a little more info. For us, bonsai and breaks was truly a recipe for success.
"No, seriously: Point me in the right direction."
OK. Well, let's look at a few popular options we've pulled together:Firstly, an easy one. Light stretches.
Ever caught yourself in the mirror with that weird looking posture?
Same. Stretch a bit to let that muscle tension subsidy and straighten your posture – you will get rid of the stress and fatigue as you perform some light stretching exercises. You don’t necessarily need to wear yoga pants or need a mat, just learn some basic steps from YouTube and follow them wherever you find it convenient to perform.
Secondly, have a quick chat with someone you care about.
For those people embedded within reports and spreadsheets at home, chatting to someone you care has been proven to help. It can decrease the cortisol hormone levels in the body (stress hormones) and release dopamine and serotonin (feel-good hormones), this balance of hormones which otherwise got disturbed in the working hours will help you to feel a lot calmer and a lot happier.
Thirdly, its back to bonsai.
Now there's good reason for this: typically speaking, keeping in touch with nature during the working day just isn't a possibility for a lot of the working population. We know at this stage you're aware of our other blogs which go into further detail about the positive physical and mental aspects of bonsai. But, its worth stressing that working with nature will actually make you feel good - studies have proved it. One particular study detailed people, who had spent a mere 2 hours per week with nature, report a significantly greater sense of health and wellbeing than those who didn't spend any time with nature.
"Wonderful. So, If you were to conclude, what would you say?"
Whether you're at work or working from home, it's these short breaks which can fuel the ability to see both yourself and your work from different perspectives, reproaching the situation with a fresh, rested, invigorated mind. This is what can encourage your creative side to take over and re-evaluate what it is you are trying to achieve and how you are going to get there.
With creativity comes innovation. And, having taken a number of breaks within this blog, the overriding concept played a crucial role in our decision to create The Happy Shrub. The health of our mind and body will shape the lives we lead and the world around. It all starts with a 10 minute break.