Feeling overwhelmed this week ? Try one of these speedy booster breaks to turn your day around.
Whether you're working longer hours or struggling to get everything done in the run-up to Christmas, taking short but regular breaks through the day brings benefits - from less stress to improved mental health.
1. Get outside
In a study published in the Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health, workers were asked to head outside for 10 - minute "outdoor booster breaks" and focus on natural elements such as clouds, sounds of birds or the grass beneath their feet. At the end of the four-week study, they felt significantly less stressed than those who took indoor beaks.
2. Nap happy
Between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm, we experience a small dip in core body temperature (a signal to the brain to release melatonin, the sleep hormone). Taking a 10-minute nap around this time period is ideal to work around this natural dip. Research has found that a short power nap can help boost productivity, mood, alertness and even improve memory recall.
3. Take a walk
Taking a short leisurely stroll could help you experience that eureka moment , according to researchers at Stanford University. They found that a short walk helped boost creativity in participants by an average of 60 per cent.
4. Give green a chance
In addition to improving air quality, interacting with potted plants can do wonders for your well-being. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, found that subjects who re-potted a houseplant felt soothed and stress-free. Experts say that smelling or touching plants can produce similar de-stressing effects.
5. Kawaii to go
Kawaii is a Japanese word that roughly translates to "cuteness". Researchers from the University of Hiroshima found that viewing kawaii images - specifically of cute kittens or puppies - had an amazing effect on workers. They not only felt happier, they also performed tasks better than before viewing the images.
6. Make time for 'prayer'
Spending lots of time online puts you at risk of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): Pain, tingling and stiffness felt in muscles, nerves and tendons. Try the following prayer stretch once or twice a day as a preventative measure. First place your palms together at chest height in a prayer position. Keeping your palms connected, slowly lower your hands until your arms reach a 90-degree position. Hold for 10 seconds. Then hold each of the following positions for 10 seconds. Tip your hands to the left; tip your hands to the right; move your hands outwards so your fingers are pointing away from you; finally, place the backs of your hands together with your fingers pointed down.
Research shows that mindfulness meditation can lower stress levels, improve our ability to cope with pressure and boost concentration, memory and creativity. And more companies, including Google and Apple, are advising employees to give on-the-job meditation a go. To start, use a guided meditation app to help transport you from tense to Zen in seconds.