10-minute brain break

A woman laying on the steps of a building.

Now that winter is here I’ve noticed that I’ve been spending the great majority of all the days of the weeks this month, sitting down. It’s getting cold and instead of sitting down at a park with my laptop to work on my thesis, I’ve just been working at my desk, in the warm comfort of the indoors.

I’m pushing through the final months of my candidature and now it’s just writing. Every day – working on my thesis every day with each day being a step closer to finishing. It is exhausting though and although I make sure to give myself periodic 10-minute breaks for every focused half-hour of writing that I do, I realized I need a more intentional way to spend my 10-minute brain break that is not spent just standing up for coffee, water, or the toilet, or ruminating about all the ways I could fail. Here are some of the ways I’ve chosen to use the 10 minutes, hoping that I get some truly restful minutes where I can switch my brain off for short periods throughout the day.

  • Find a spot outside to lie on your back and watch the clouds. If it’s raining and too cold, sit by a window for this instead.
  • Water some plants with a watering can.
  • Count the stars.
  • Light a candle and watch the flame.
  • Write one thing you are grateful for in a single Post-it and stick it onto your bathroom mirror. (Replace yesterday’s Post-it.)
  • Do a 10-minute cardio circuit.
  • Do not multitask when waiting for the kettle to boil. Instead, stand there and listen to the water boil.

What do you do when you are feeling drained, exhausted, or overstimulated? How do you switch off?

Tagged in What messes with your head, phd, study break, Productivity, stress, mindfulness