Summer Break for Your Brain: Why Rest and Play are Essential for Productivity

Did you know that research consistently shows that taking breaks positively correlates with productivity? It’s not about working harder, but smarter. Individuals who take work breaks are more productive in the long run. This may sound counterintuitive, but studies have shown that taking short breaks, such as lunch breaks or a 10-15-minute coffee break, long breaks, such as a Sabbatic, or something in between, such as a vacation, can significantly improve work performance and productivity.

Let’s examine the importance of breaks from another perspective and consider why taking a break might be beneficial. Anyone who has owned a car or another type of machine will tell you that if we keep a car or machine running all the time, it will overheat, wear out, and break down much sooner than if you take it in for proper maintenance and give it breaks. While we are not machines, our bodies run similarly to machines. The longer we run without a break, the more likely we are to make mistakes, and our productivity will begin to decrease.

Did you also know that adding a few minutes of play to your day can improve your mood? One author writes, “Playing with your romantic partner, friends, co-workers, pets, and children is a sure (and fun) way to fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and emotional well-being. Adult play is a time to forget about work and commitments, and to be social in an unstructured, creative way.”(2)

Putting these two activities together – taking a break to play – will therefore increase productivity, creativity, and emotional well-being.

Sometimes, breaks come in the form of time off work. Other times breaks come in the form of stopping a task for a while. In this vain, we want to let you know that

we will take a break from the monthly newsletter for June, July, and August. We are not breaking from everything. Over the summer, our staff will be taking time for play and vacation. We will also have the fun opportunity to celebrate with one of our staff members as she welcomes a baby into the world. Of course, counseling will continue to happen, and we have some new opportunities we will be planning for the Fall. We are excited about some new things coming up in the Fall that we look forward to sharing with you!

We want to invite you to consider some tasks or work you could also take a break from. We also invite you to think about play and how you might be able to add some into your days, weeks, and upcoming months. Join us on our Summer break as we celebrate in the spirit of Summer, knowing that God is the author of rest, play, and fun. If He says it is good, we can too!


Written by: Ashley Brooks, PhD, LPC-S



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