A Quick Break from Print

And why you should take a break in general



Lindsey Naples


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The summer is dwindling to a close and, in the final full month of this season, I’m here to remind you: TAKE A BREAK! I’m not saying drop everything and immediately take a three-week tropical vacation (I’m not not telling you to do that, either), but like the scorching temperatures around the globe, your mental acuity may be burning out. Work is important, but so is stepping back for a few moments and recollecting. 


Take in the View

I recently read an article in The New York Times about Amtrak’s California Zephyr, a long-distance train route operating between Chicago and Emeryville, California. According to the article, it is “considered by many rail enthusiasts to be among the most scenic long-distance train routes in the United States,” with the entire route taking “some 52 hours and includes 33 stops.”


The photos alone were stunning, but that’s not what caught my attention. One particular snippet had me sitting back and thinking about it for hours after finishing the article. The author writes, “For a majority of people I met, traveling on the California Zephyr wasn’t about getting somewhere. Instead, the trip was a reward—a slow and much-anticipated few days carved out of a busy lifestyle.”


Source: The New York Times


Sitting on a train with no necessary destination, simply taking a break from life and enjoying the scenery? That sounds like a dream. Again, I’m not telling you to find your way onto this train and just sit there for 52 hours. What I’m saying is just to recognize there is a need to step back sometimes—especially with work.


Why Breaks are Best

A 2017 article from Psychology Today states, “breaks can replenish the psychological costs associated with working hard, improve work performance, and boost energy”. Recommended types of breaks include meditation, playing a game, and physical activity to name a few. But no matter how you choose to spend it, breaks are necessary to keep you focused, alert, and sane. 


But before you say something like, “I work from home, I don’t have the level of stress other people do” or “I’m not very high up in the company”, allow me to highlight a key point very succinctly put by Verywell Mind: “Workers in every industry at every level are at potential risk.”


Those risks aren’t just being tired or annoyed with you job, either. According to Mayo Clinic, burnout could have lasting effects such as excessive stress, insomnia, heart disease, high blood pressure, or weakened immune systems, leaving you vulnerable to illness. And a vacation here and there may not enough; regular breaks throughout the day are recommended to combat burnout, otherwise you run the risk of bigger issues that take far more than a ten-minute walk to keep at bay.


Keypoint Intelligence Opinion

There's a saying I see floating around social media every so often that goes something like, "if you don't choose times to rest, your body will choose them for you." I think that's a good thing to keep in mind. Work is important, yes; but so is mental and physical health and happiness. To balance it all, just remember to step back every once in a while. Stand up and do some stretches, take a walk, or (if it’s 100 degrees outside, like it’s recently been) take a few deep breaths and chat with someone—about anything other than work. Detach yourself for a few minutes and let yourself recharge! You deserve it; your body (and job performance) will thank you in the long run.