Health Advocate Blog

Give yourself an outdoor brain break

Whether you’re at home or your workplace, being cooped up inside all day staring at a computer screen or performing repetitive tasks can make it difficult to remain productive and focused. Going outside for fresh air, even in short spurts, can make a big difference in your energy level and help you re-engage with work or school. Try to take a brain break every hour or two to keep yourself fresh in between projects, meetings and more.

But how can you make the most of the outdoors during the work day? Here are a few ideas to get outside during the day and reap the benefits of fresh air, no matter how much time you have.

If you have five minutes:

  • Take a walk around the block! Stretching your legs, waving hi to a neighbor or two, and soaking up a little sunshine may be the perfect remedy to help shift your mindset.
  • Boogie down. Go out to your patio or yard, pick the first upbeat song on your playlist, and just dance for a few minutes. If your neighbors ask what you’re doing, invite them to dance along on their own patio!

If you have ten minutes:

  • Play fetch with Fido, your kid, or the wall – grab a ball, and toss it back and forth for a few minutes. If you’re playing with your pet or kid, it’s a win-win for everyone.
  • Squeeze in a quick workout. You can find short workouts on many free apps, or make up your own. Head outside for squats, jumping jacks, or even a few sprints up and down your driveway or block.

If you have a half hour:

  • “Run” an errand. If you have something to mail, pick up at the store or drop off nearby (and it’s small and light enough to easily carry), consider building activity into your errand. Jog, walk or bike to and from your errand to give both your brain and body a break from sitting inside.
  • Eat outside. Take your lunch to go. Whether you go outside your own home or walk to a nearby park, a change of scenery and a true lunch “break” is so important for your mental and physical well-being.

If you have longer:

  • Take a hike! If you have an extended break or day off, hit the trails! This is a beautiful time of year for a hike to see the changing leaves or enjoy the cooler temperatures. Go to a local preserve or park to explore and enjoy the natural surroundings.
  • Meditate or yoga. Roll out your mat anywhere and listen to an audio class or take an outdoor, socially distanced class with a nearby studio. This is a fantastic way to refocus your mind and feel refreshed.

No matter how you decide to do it, taking short brain breaks outside is a great way to find balance and come back to your work feeling ready to tackle what’s next.