You should take breaks during your working day.
A walk in the park during lunch break has been proven to be beneficial.
1. Insufficient recovery from work and job strain can lead to several health problems. Even in the short term, poor recovery may disturb your sleep, for example. In the long term, the consequences can be burnout or even an increased risk of heart and vascular diseases.
2. You should pay attention to recovery, because in our modern and hectic 24/7 society, sufficient rest is often overlooked and work follows people everywhere. Recovery can be difficult not only because of the large amount of work, but also due to its qualitative demands.
3. Knowledge workers are at particular risk, as well as those who work over 48 hours a week. Shift work can also be stressful. The risk only increases if one mulls over work matters during leisure time, or if the work itself does not include empowering aspects to encounter the stress factors, such as social support or the possibility to influence one’s work. For older employees, recovery takes longer than it does for younger colleagues.
4. Recovery should also be part of the working day. According on research, recovery periods during the day help you to stay energised throughout the day and promote recovery after work. At the least, a lunchbreak should be taken every day, preferably outside the workplace.
5. Short walks in the park and relaxation exercises during the day have also proven to be beneficial. A 15-minute walk in the park was pleasurable, improved concentration and alleviated tiredness especially in the afternoon. Enjoying a relaxation exercise improved concentration and alleviated both tiredness and stress at the end of the day. What is essential is to concentrate on the relaxation exercise or the walk itself. So if you are taking a walk in the park, put your mobile phone away, look at the greenery around you and listen to the birds sing.
For this article, researchers Ulla Kinnunen, Kalevi Korpela and Marjaana Sianoja from the Työkuormituksesta palautuminen – työ- ja ympäristöpsykologisten näkökulmien yhdistäminen (Recovery from work strain – combining the perspectives of occupational and environmental psychology) research project were interviewed. In the research, the effects of walking and relaxation interventions during the working day on the recovery of 153 workers was monitored.
Text: Hanna Hyvärinen
Photograph: Jonne Renvall