• Nicole Bentley, LCSW

How to Take a Break at Work

No matter what your job is, it’s likely that you will need a quick break from time to time to refocus, re-set, and feel present. Some jobs schedule breaks into the shifts, or even mandate breaks throughout the day, which is a great opportunity to refocus your attention. However, other jobs are more self-led and do not have breaks scheduled, which puts the employee in charge of deciding when and how to take a break.


Below are a few ideas for how to take a break from work. These can be effective for any type of job, and some only take a few seconds!




  • Utilize Windows – Observe and Describe

If you have access to a window, feel free to take a mindful moment to look out the window, and non-judgmentally observe or describe what you see. If you can, get up and walk over to the window so you feel closer to the outdoors.

  • Deep breathing

Take a few slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth


Inhale as you repeat the word “mindful” to yourself, and as you exhale repeat the word “moment. This can set your intentions to be mindful in that moment, which can help reset your attention for the day.

  • Take a walk

If you can spare a few more minutes, consider walking around your office, visiting another floor, or saying hello to a co-worker. If you have more time, consider going for a 10-minute walk outside to get some fresh air.

  • Fidgets

Keep a small fidget (something that fits in your hand like a stress ball or Play-doh) at your desk and pull it out. Play around with this object for a minute and allow it to ground you to the present moment by placing all your attention on the sensation of it in your hand.

  • Ask a coworker how they are doing

Take a moment to walk over to a coworker, or instant message them to ask how they are doing. Being of service to others is another way to take a break and focus on another value besides work.


Feel free to adapt these based on your specific job and needs. The goal here is to feel grounded in the present moment, connected with yourself, and/or connected with something that you value other than work so you can then return to your work with a refreshed sense of focus.





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