Have you ever found yourself sitting at your desk in the middle of the afternoon, wondering, “When was the last time I stood up?” If you work in an office, the chances of that happening are good. Sometimes it’s necessary to power through a task. But, more often than not, breaks throughout our work day can make us more effective by giving our mind a time of rest and our bodies a chance to move out of that “hunched over your keyboard” position.

Whether you can take quick five to ten minute breaks throughout the day, or just a longer break for lunchtime, here are a few ways to make the most of the time away from your desk.

  1. Take a quick walk.

Even a short stroll across the parking lot and back can give you a healthy dose of fresh air and get your muscles moving. For those who take a lunch break, consider taking a longer walk during that mid-day time frame, and eating lunch at your desk later. For extra mind-clearing benefit, leave your cell phone on your desk and make your walk time a completely unplugged period.

  1. Call a friend or long-distance family member.

Haven’t talked to your mom in a week? Want to check in with your best friend? Coordinate schedules with a friend or family member, and then hop on the phone with them (for a few minutes, or a longer time at lunch) to catch up and break up your workday rhythm.

  1. Find a dose of inspiration.

Listening to a podcast or reading a book can be just the mental boost you need when your brain’s feeling a little worn out. Recharge for a few minutes by reading or listening to something that boosts your spirits and makes you think creatively.

  1. Journal or meditate.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a quiet, isolated place where you can go at work, use it! Even a short, five-minute mindfulness meditation practice will help you keep stress levels at bay, and journaling can be a great way to process the day’s events as they happen. Take care of your emotions throughout the workday, and you’ll definitely have more capacity for productivity later on.

  1. Exercise.

This one is best suited for a longer break (such as your lunch hour), but squeezing in a workout in the middle of your workday can actually work wonders for your productivity. Pack a gym bag the night before to carry to the office with you, and find a studio or gym close to your workplace so you’ll have as much time as possible to exercise once you get there. Exercise will help take your mind off work for a short time, and it can help clear any mental clutter so you can think more clearly when you return to work. Who knows– maybe you’ll head back into the office with the perfect solution to that impossible problem you spent all morning thinking about!

One last tip: However you choose to spend your time away from your desk, try to avoid excess screen time if possible. Give your eyes a chance to rest, too!



Allie was born and raised in Georgia, and moved to Nashville after graduating from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). She’s a freelance writer, an old soul, and a chronic DIY-er. Connect with Allie at