OK, even I giggled when I typed the post title. I don’t work in a traditional office setting and am far too frugal to fire up my Nespresso mid-day (even with my fave knock off coffee pods).
Also (non-rhetorical here): Do people take coffee breaks anymore? I’m fairly certain they don’t, but the more candid ‘I’ve swapped Facebook breaks for outside fun’ didn’t flow as nicely.
And the message is all the same.
I’ve swapped my indoor work-break/brain-break for shoes OFF, brain-stimulating outdoor time.
If, by outdoor time you mean ‘standing (or supine’ing) outside your front door for 5-7 minutes at a stretch’—- which I do.
It’s a complement to my newISH lifestyle.
It’s amazing it’s taken me so long to realize this.
1) My body craves the sunshine.
It’s been sweltering in Texas for the past 6 months. As a result, I’d taken to hiding inside during the hottest, sunniest parts of the day (unless life conspires to teach me lessons outdoors) and snagging my outside-time in the dark predawn hour while wearing a headlamp. Now that it’s cooler my body craves the vitamin D. And, while I’ll venture to say much of this could be placebo effect (any science types out there?) it feels as though it’s helping! Outside, sunscreen-free, five minutes per day = reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, swifter recovery time and a panoply of other benefits I’m happy to reap.
2) It lessens my work-frazzle.
I’m renown for my ability to consume large amounts of caffeine and still slip easily into slumber. Caffeine doesn’t make me jittery and, as a result, for years I didn’t watch my consumption. I’ve realized, even if coffee wont exacerbate work-stress I’m experiencing it definitely doesn’t help. Carla + barefoot + standing in grass for 5 minutes = diminished stress and reduced mental fatigue (fatigue which can manifest itself in the form of I’m out of words. I cannot create another sentence. which is never good for a writertype).
outdoors and frazzle-free.
3) It’s a reboot for my creativity.
A few years ago The New York Times published a fantastic article about how walking outdoors sparks creativity. I believe this. I’ve experienced this. I do not have time during the workday to amble freely for 30 minutes. I’ve discovered 5 or 6 minutes outside, grounding and connecting with nature reboots the creative piece of my cranium. I focus on tuning out from my monkey-mind and tuning in to sounds around me. Be they birds chirping, kids playing or even a garbage truck zooming by–new sounds and sensations refill my word-tank and reinvigorate my creativity.
Shoes off. Creativity on.
I realize my work-life is fairly accommodating when it comes to implementing something like this, but short stints of outside time can work no matter your office setting.
A few minutes outside makes for a more productive rest of the day—something which any boss can’t argue with.
One caveat: Do not be like my friend who, after hearing me yammer how rejuvenating my outdoor-breaks are, decided to launch her practice in the workplace courtyard.
She left her shoes in the office.
She eagerly exited her building.
She allowed the door to slam shut behind her and found herself (blissed out and) locked out when she was finished.
And probably *required* coffee after the whole ordeal was done.
- Does your workplace still routinely employ coffee breaks?
- Could you slip outside for a few minutes each day?
Sarah saysOctober 24, 2016 at 4:30 am
Since I run my workplace (AKA I’m a work at home mom) I have DEFINITELY tried incorporating fresh air into my day all year round. I can tell a HUGE difference in my mental and emotional health when I get sunshine if even just for a few minutes. If I’ve had a very rough mom day I ask the second my hubby comes home, to go take a quick walk to the end of our road and back (like 10 minutes) it is JUST WHAT I NEED!
Bea saysOctober 24, 2016 at 4:51 am
My first thought was I could never do this in my office, but I bet I think I like. We have a center courtyard, too.
I definitely rely on my afternoon caffeine to get me through the rest of the day. This might be better and it wouldn’t keep me awake all night long.
Angela @ happy fit mama saysOctober 24, 2016 at 4:56 am
We don’t have coffee breaks at my workplace but I do make it a point to get outside for my lunch break. During the warm/nice weather, that’s 30 minutes. In the winter, I’ll try to snag 5 minutes at the end of my break to get some fresh air. It’s amazing how much it rejuvenates you. I don’t get the afternoon slump. Although some days, if it’s really nice out, it makes it harder to go back in to finish out the work day.
Allie saysOctober 24, 2016 at 5:00 am
It’s getting a lot colder here but I always make time to step out onto my back deck for breaks during the day! It makes a HUGE difference and, is really needed as the winter starts to settle in here 🙁 Shoes (and boots) will have to remain on but, the effect is the same!
Susie @ SuzLyfe saysOctober 24, 2016 at 5:29 am
I have required outdoor time now with the pup! It is glorious at the moment, but ask me again when it is 8 deg outside (ask her then, too, actually, lol)
messymimi saysOctober 24, 2016 at 5:57 am
Part of my work is taking out the trash, and i will admit to occasionally taking a bit longer with that, to snag a minute or two outside, than it really should take. A “garbage moment” a la Jimbo Gumbo (from the comic strip “Rose is Rose”), if you will. Stopping outside to read the mail on the way back from the box, and taking a few extra minutes, is also a great way to snag a few extra minutes in the sunshine.
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious saysOctober 24, 2016 at 6:15 am
I need to do this. I used to teach swim lessons in the afternoon but taking a break since my surgery to recover. Now I’m craving sun in a big way. I’ve thought about bringing my computer on the patio to work and soak up the vitamin D.
lindsay Cotter saysOctober 24, 2016 at 6:28 am
I am with suzy! My pup is my boss. LOL! thankful she allows outdoor coffee break time. Minus coffee. haha
Pamela Lutrell saysOctober 24, 2016 at 6:54 am
I need to do this…I just do not leave the office enough some weeks. Thanks for the inspiration, Carla!
Haralee saysOctober 24, 2016 at 7:40 am
This is sound advice, fresh air, headphones off and in warm temps shoes off.
A friend of mine moved here to gray in the winter Portland Oregon. She became depressed. Her therapist told her to go outside EVERY day for 5-10 minutes regardless of the weather and take a walk.
sara saysOctober 24, 2016 at 7:49 am
This is such great advice! Yesterday I spent the morning outside with my daughter and it felt so good. The weather has been cooperating here so I need to do this more often!
Leanne saysOctober 24, 2016 at 7:56 am
I find working part-time gives me the chance to pop out into the sunshine when I’m home – I try to take my book outside for 15 minutes of Spring sunshine – once it starts getting really warm I might have to re-evaluate, but at the moment it’s lovely.
Paula Kiger saysOctober 24, 2016 at 8:12 am
Great reminder. I have lost so much touch with the outdoors. I went for a walk at 9:30 last night and for that 20 minutes, with a sky full of stars, my soul stepped down just a hair from its current what-will-the-next-crisis-be state and just …. WAS. So thank you for encouraging us to get more of the same.
Annmarie saysOctober 24, 2016 at 8:15 am
I need to do this, no questions about it.
Debbie saysOctober 24, 2016 at 9:18 am
Like you I’m so ready for outdoor time. The summer was just too long this year (and we’re still above 90 here!). I don’t really take “coffee breaks” per se (you nailed it with Facebook break, I think), but I think today at work when I have some time I’ll just take a little bit of time outdoors.
Roxanne Jones saysOctober 24, 2016 at 9:36 am
I work at home so have no excuse not to do this! I won’t be doing the barefoot thing here in Maine in February, but otherwise think a short outdoor brain-break is absolutely doable and necessary! Thanks for setting such a good example–and for the reminder that it doesn’t have to be a 30-45 minute commitment!
Kathy @ SMART Living 365 saysOctober 24, 2016 at 9:39 am
Hi Carla! I SO agree that outdoor breaks are important for all the reasons you state. I am fortunate because my husband also works at home and between the two of us we remind (distract!) each other enough to get up and move AND go outside. Where we live the weather is cooling off nicely too so taking a bike ride in the middle of the day is perfect. We also take yoga once a week in the middle of the day. So many things that we can do and it is so much healthier for us. Thanks for the reminder! ~Kathy
Glenda saysOctober 24, 2016 at 9:46 am
You’re a very wise woman. I was thinking the same thing. Lately I haven’t allowed space for white noise and have been occupying my time with social media and other things. I usually do this when my mind us trying to escape from something.
Jody - Fit at 58 saysOctober 24, 2016 at 11:22 am
How about coffee outside! 🙂
email@example.com saysOctober 24, 2016 at 12:19 pm
This is such a fabulous post! Carla, one of my favorite parts of my day, is taking a break for my daily walk outside. Luckily, I can since I live in California.
Ellen Dolgen saysOctober 24, 2016 at 1:22 pm
There is nothing like an outside break! I work from home and make sure that I pry myself out of my desk chair and go for a walk or bike ride each day. Just a half hour and I am renewed! I do LOVE my coffee, too!
AdjustedReality saysOctober 24, 2016 at 2:07 pm
Wayyyy back in the day, I used to take smoke breaks, and felt sorry for the poor suckers that didn’t smoke, they wouldn’t take breaks or go outside. Once I stopped smoking, for a while I went out with the people who still smoked. Then, I didn’t really want to be around that, so I stopped taking breaks. About a year and a half ago, my husband started dragging me out on walks. Something changed in the last year, instead of being like “UGH I have to walk”, I look forward to them!
I have had some stressed out days where I’ll spend more time than my employer would probably like outside, but when the other option is snapping at people, I’m sure it’s the preferred outcome.
Coco saysOctober 24, 2016 at 7:59 pm
We do Starbucks runs. Not every day. Maybe not even once a week. But they do involve taking a few steps outside. Some days I barely have time for pee breaks, let alone coffee breaks, but that’s ridiculous. 🙂
Cathy Lawdanski saysOctober 24, 2016 at 8:03 pm
I did not know you were in Texas. I am too – near Houston. Yes, since it’s cooled off a bit, I’m craving the outdoors too. Will try stepping out instead of the coffee. After about the 3rd cup of the day, it doesn’t do me much good anyway!
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner saysOctober 24, 2016 at 8:11 pm
My body craves sunshine too but also craves coffee 🙂 What if I drank coffee while walking outside?
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysOctober 24, 2016 at 8:14 pm
I try to sneak out at lunch for a quick (even 10 minutes) walk in the sunshine. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like but when I do, it’s amazing!
Jenn saysOctober 24, 2016 at 8:18 pm
I “work” from home (and bought a refillable coffee pod) so I have been taking work outside to the back patio. Usually I just end up tossing the ball to my spaniel – which is pretty darn relaxing.
I will say, now that we have a break from the Texas heat – the skeeters have been awful. I’ve been making the most of the cooler sunshine though!
Jennifer Dunham saysOctober 24, 2016 at 9:11 pm
This is so great. As you mentioned, I find that getting outdoors even if only for a few minutes is such a great way to refuel and refocus myself.
Marcia saysOctober 25, 2016 at 9:34 am
Now there’s a term(and a habit) that’s slipped by the wayside! I definitely take some time outside to recharge. Just read an article about “forest bathing” that sounded pretty interesting.
Laurie Stone saysOctober 25, 2016 at 10:47 am
Carla, There really is such a thing as the pause that refreshes. I find that stepping away from the desk and reading, daydreaming, even doing something mindless like housework makes a difference. Love all your tips. Thanks for the reminder.
Tiffany @ Dilesia saysOctober 28, 2016 at 4:23 am
It sounds like a great advice, Carla. I love your coffee, too 🙂
Charlotte saysOctober 29, 2016 at 10:13 am
I work from home so find that getting out and breathing fresh, clean air is immensely beneficial for my overall wellbeing. Totally necessary for inspiration/creativity. And love your ink!!
Stopping in from SITS sharefest and hope you’re having a great weekend!
Lucie saysOctober 31, 2016 at 11:54 am
I work in a traditional office. We do get 2 x 15 min breaks, which I never take. However, I usually eat my lunch early, at my desk, so I can have my entire lunch hour to workout, outdoors. It makes me feel great through the afternoon. I see all the benefits you mentioned above
Vikas Kumar saysNovember 13, 2016 at 10:00 am
I recently started taking three 20 minutes walk breaks from my work and it makes me really feel good and more productive.