Four benefits of Taking a Break

After reading this blog’s title, most of us would have thought, “yeah, this is a no-brainer”. But the fact is, not many of us even realise when we are overworked, close to burnout and in desperate need of a break.

In 2011, I was overworked and struggling professionally, my personal life was dragging its feet, and I did not even realise this. Luckily for me, my friends were planning a month-long trip around South-East Asia and forced me to go with them. No matter how much I said NO!

And so I went. It was the best thing I ever did in my life (until then).

When I came back, I was almost a completely different man. I felt like I wanted to go swimming with sharks and skydiving, and within the year, I was a married man (what does that tell you?). I wanted to do something that pushed me professionally and personally, and all this happened because I went on a break I did not know I needed.

The following are four reasons why I feel it is essential to take a break from work (or school).

Mental health

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash.

No matter how much we love what we are doing, our jobs will add stress to our lives. Those lucky enough to do something you love might not even realise that some form of work stress is still always added to your lives. Then there is personal stress of managing the family, the kids, school work, etc. We have covered managing stress in a number of our previous blogs.

Taking a break from the daily grind of life can help you get away from the routine of life, giving you the time needed to reflect on your life and the choices you have made. But even if you don’t reflect on your life choices, don’t underestimate the power of relaxing your mind and letting it go blank.

Physical health

Photo by Israel Andrade on Unsplash.

Between work, family and being stuck in traffic (or since the coronavirus, being stuck at home), there is no time. Or at least that is the excuse most of us use for not exercising. Having a healthy body goes hand-in-hand with having a healthy mind. Taking a break might just help you kick start your physical system, reminding your body that it needs to be exercised.

One of the countries we went to on our break in 2011 was Cambodia, and my God, just walking around the temples in Siem Reap felt like a year’s worth of exercise. So you don’t have to go on nature walks or hiking on your break to get in your physical activity. You could get it from club hopping, swimming, or playing a game with your kids on the beach.

Take advantage of this added physical exertion and try to keep it going once you return to your routine.

Sleep

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash.

Sleep is one of the first things we compromise on when we fall behind on our routine. We always think that we can make up for the loss of sleep at a later time, but chances are bad sleep habits will be cultivated and will become regular sleep habits. Getting optimal rest at night is vital to having an efficient day. I know I am much more motivated to get to work when I have slept well and am a lot more pleasant to be around.

A break is an excellent opportunity to fix your bad sleep habits and to correct and better regulate your sleep cycle.

Productivity

Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash.

There are several studies that have shown the correlation between taking a break and an increase in productivity, from being able to sleep better and being in a better mood after vacations to a rise in productivity and less exhaustion. And this proof is necessary because you should never just take someone’s word as fact. But speaking from personal experience, I know that taking breaks improved my productivity. And the break I took in 2011 was a life-changing one for me!


So go on your break. Recharge your cells. And when to get back to your routine, challenge yourself!

If you have taken your break and are ready to challenge yourself and have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, then take a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and details on discounts we might offer.

3 simple ways to keep motivated through the day

It might just be me, but I don’t think that I have personally ever seen anyone (and I am talking about working adults only here) go through a whole workday with a positive, motivated attitude.

Well, that might not be entirely accurate. I remember my first job out of college was fun. Most of the workforce was also fresh out of college, many of whom were from my college and my friends. It was all fun, and we used to get paid for it. But time and responsibility have weight and can slow you down.

There is no avoiding responsibility; it is an integral part of life and growth. And responsibility is not a bad thing; a lot of us get motivated because of the responsibility we have.

However, several things could happen during your day that could bring down your enthusiasm and energy during the day, such as getting late for a meeting because you were stuck in traffic, getting yelled at by your manager, having a disagreement with your spouse, having to discipline your child, having the water stop halfway through a shower. The list can be endless!

So, what can you do to remain as motivated as you can during the day? Here are three simple tips you could use that might help you stay motivated right through the day.

Sleep

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

How often have you stayed up through the night and started your day crankily and performing far less than your usual efficiency? Getting optimal rest at night is vital to having an efficient day. I know I am a lot more motivated to get to work when I have slept well and am definitely a lot more pleasant to be around.

We have covered the importance of a good night’s rest in several of our blogs and have a few that we have gone into more detail on, such as 7 ways to better understand your Sleep Cycle and Are you an early riser or a night owl? Which sleep pattern is best when studying for the online master’s degree?

Reactivate your senses

Photo by petr sidorov on Unsplash

As human beings, we can react positively or negatively to what we see, hear and smell—sight, sound, and scent.

How often have you gotten distracted by something playing on the television only to realise that you delayed what you were supposed to do?

How often has your efficiency improved when working to the beat of a song? I remember driving home from my grandparent’s place (about 600 kilometres) and listening to an album with a collection of songs from different artists. I was so caught up in the music that I think it was the fastest (DO NOT SPEED, PLEASE), smoothest and most enjoyable drive I have ever had.

Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

And finally, how often has something you smelled in the air taken you to your childhood and calmed you right down? The smell of cookies always takes me back to Christmas mornings as a child and fills me with happiness. It reminds me of waking up and seeing the Christmas tree.

So, when you wake up in the morning, don’t go straight to your phone. You never know what you will see there; you have no control over it. It might be a message that is just going to get you all wound up. Let the first thing you see be something that inspires you or something you love or, if you are religious, something motivational from a sacred text. And your day is already off to a bright start.

And stay away from cute cat videos on YouTube; you will never get anything done.

I have already said what music can do for you, but it also can cut down on the static noise around you that can distract and disturb you. It will help you focus your attention on what you are doing. Not everything will help you focus; some might even distract you. So, find what works for you.

Last but not least, the sense of smell. I keep a scented candle with a scent that I have come to associate with peace of mind in my room. It is not always lit, but I light it up when I feel stressed, and I know it helps me calm down quicker.

Be in the present

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

When we are working or studying, many of us are thinking of the next thing we must do. We are very seldom focused on what we are doing, resulting in not doing justice to what we must get done right now. And when we don’t do things right, we get demotivated. And then the downward spiral of your day begins. Hopefully, by activating your senses, you will be better able to focus on what you are doing, thereby finishing your tasks efficiently and staying motivated throughout the day.


We understand that the challenges of doing a master’s degree online, along with working and managing your family, can get stressful, and there might be times when you feel demotivated. Hopefully, these three tips will help you stay motivated a little longer.

What other thing did you do to stay motivated right through your day? Let us know in the comments. We would appreciate it.

If this blog has motivated you to challenge yourself and do a master’s degree, then have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and details on discounts we might be offering at this time.