Are you microbreaking enough at work?

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Chatting with a co-worker, making a cup of coffee or putting in a load of washing may seem like procrastination, but it can be beneficial. Read our article to learn what microbreaking is, why it differs from procrastination and how to practise it effectively.

Being glued to your screen is not necessarily the best strategy for productivity, and taking a breather now and then can help you to bounce back from fatigue and disengagement during work.

Microbreaks are short intervals you take from work throughout the day. It could involve anything from standing up to stretch, doing some desk exercises, making a cup of coffee, chatting to a colleague or refilling your water bottle.

Microbreaks vs. procrastination

Microbreaks aren’t procrastination. The difference is that microbreaks can help you to recharge. And unlike procrastination, which can cause you to put off or avoid a task, microbreaks can help you to produce better work.

What’s more, a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology reveals that microbreaks can help workers to be more engaged and maintain their energy levels throughout a working day.

They’re so effective because they enable a process called ‘psychological detachment’, where you’re able to mentally disengage from work, allowing your brain to rest.

Microbreaks can also help you to:

Examples of microbreaks

Considering COVID-19 regulations, some good options for microbreaking during work include:

In-office

  • watching a short funny video
  • getting up to make or buy a cup of coffee
  • updating your diary with key events

Remote working

  • catching up with someone over text or video call
  • putting in a load of washing
  • stepping outside for some air

How to use microbreaks effectively

Schedule them. Add time to your daily calendar to take microbreaks. You can choose different times using phone alerts or an app such as Stretch Reminder to prompt you.

Take a break when you’re distracted. You won’t be truly productive if you aren’t focused. Whenever you’re feeling distracted, use it as your cue to take a microbreak. This could be as simple as stretching your legs.

Try the Pomodoro Technique, a time-management strategy where you work in blocks of 25 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break. An app like Tide can help you with this.

Learn to normalise it. There’s no reason to feel guilty for taking microbreaks since they will help you work more effectively.

For more work-related advice, read these helpful articles:

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a professional. E&OE.

References:


Understanding cancer-related post-traumatic stress disorder

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Cancer-related PTSD can occur at any point from diagnosis to surgery and/or treatment and can impact the survivor’s reintegration into their home, work and social lives. Here’s more about cancer-related PTSD and how best to deal with the symptoms.

Cancer survivors navigate emotions that range from hope and joy to trauma and trepidation as they deal with diagnosis and treatment, as well as adapting to life post-cancer. This journey is taxing and could result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For example, nearly 1 in 4 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer experienced PTSD.
Cancer experiences that may trigger PTSD vary but include:

  • the test results (diagnosis)
  • a harrowing treatment procedure
  • long hospital stays and treatment
  • cancer-related pain
  • possible recurrence of cancer

How can a cancer diagnosis lead to PTSD?

Some factors that could increase the risk of cancer-related PTSD include:

  • a low economic status
  • childhood cancer diagnosis
  • limited or negative social support
  • having PTSD or other psychological problems before being diagnosed with cancer
  • using avoidance to cope with stress

Previous trauma could also contribute to cancer-related PTSD, says Dr Eugene Allers, a psychiatrist at Life Glynnview. According to the South African Journal of Psychiatry, the lifetime prevalence of PTSD for countries with a history of violence stands at 10%. And in South Africa, where violence is rife, it stands at 2.3%.

Signs and symptoms of cancer-related PTSD

  • Nightmares or flashbacks where the content of your dreams is related to the trauma
  • Frightening and unwanted thoughts
  • Self-destructive behaviour such as abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Trouble sleeping and concentrating
  • Strong physical reactions (e.g. a racing heart) when reminded of traumatic events
  • Loss of interest in activities and relationships you once enjoyed
  • Hypervigilance and constant feelings of distress

What to do if you suspect you have cancer-related PTSD

Life Healthcare Oncologist Dr Louis Kathan suggests the below if you suspect you have cancer-related PTSD:

Connect with other survivors. Spending time with those you can relate to can help you to feel supported and understood. You can join cancer support groups or cancer-related educational programmes.

Talk to your doctor, who can refer you to a mental health specialist such as a counsellor. You can specifically ask for one who has dealt with cancer patients and survivors. Sharing your distress with your oncology team can also help them to support you more effectively and put you at ease.

For more cancer-related advice, read these helpful articles:

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a professional. E&OE.

References:


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