Throughout the pandemic it’s been even more difficult for higher education professionals to distinguish work hours from personal time. While technology has equipped us with the convenience to work digitally from home, it’s also blurred the lines of when to reply to that latest email from your director or respond to that request from your colleague’s recent Slack notification. Think about it, when it’s your lunch break at home and you hear your phone or laptop get a work notification, how often do you opt to check it right away versus waiting until your lunch break is over? We’re all guilty of it, in fact more than half of Americans will check their work email after 11:00 p.m. You’re dedicated to your work in higher ed, but have you been dedicating any time to yourself?

It’s time to prioritize your well-being and thoroughly take advantage of your daily breaks to replenish your mental and physical wellness. To get started, we’ve compiled 10 wellness break ideas for higher ed professionals to refuel and make the most of your daily breaks.

1. Send a text message to someone you love ❤️

Instead of checking or responding to a work message, why not take some time to focus on your loved ones? We promise, they’ll be happy to hear from you and it only takes a few seconds. Not only will you be making someone else’s day, you’ll probably like hearing from them as well.

2. Drink a glass of water 💧

It’s easy to forget to do things when you’re in the zone. We forget to do the essential yet necessary tasks to take care of ourselves, like taking our lunch break or drinking water. (Sorry, coffee doesn’t count, but we understand that’s probably essential to your day, too). Make sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to increase your energy, brighten your mood, and increase your brain power.

3. Take 5 deep breaths 💨

In addition to making sure you’re eating and hydrating, it’s also pivotal to take moments out of the day for yourself. Our minds are constantly juggling thoughts from work-related deadlines, to personal life situations, and everything in between. Try to take some time to decompress and put yourself at the forefront. Breathe in — hold for 5 — breathe out, and release everything on your mind, even for a moment.

4. Take a picture of a plant or tree 🍃

It’s time to relax, and this is your moment to get outside if you can! Take a walk and enjoy your surroundings. The best way to embrace your break is to avoid your computer and spend time away from your workspace. Snap a photo of a plant or a tree and use it as a reminder to make more time for your well-being by getting outside and soaking in the fresh air (or sun, depending on what your weather is like).

5. Write down three things you’re grateful for 📝

Use your pen and paper for something other than meeting notes. Rather than getting lost in your projects or the ‘what if’ scenarios, aim for the positives in your life. Focusing on gratitude can bring more good things into your life.

6. Find something on or around your workspace that’s unique to you 💫

It’s crucial to design a workstation with pieces, decorations, and an overall environment that brings a smile to your face. Rather than sitting at a desk that you dread or sparks stress, ensure you surround yourself with elements that foster creativity or bring you happiness. Whether that’s photos, knick-knacks, or even your pet, craft an area you look forward to working in.

7. Stand up and stretch🧍

Are you currently hunched at your desk, clenching your teeth, or furrowing your eyebrow? It’s always a good idea to get up from your desk throughout the day to shake it off. Stand up, stretch your body, and break that tension. Let loose and let go of all that internal pressure, you deserve it.

8. Take a doodle break 📓

When was the last time you put your pencil to paper and just doodled? It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it might help ignite some much needed creativity. Let your mind wander and draw anything that comes to you.

9. Play your favorite song 🎶

There must be a song that when you hear it pop up on your playlist it instantly puts you in a better mood, maybe it even gets you up to dance or hum along (or sing at the top of your lungs). Whatever that song is, play it until you’re smiling and feeling more at ease.

10. Plan to do something special for yourself 🗓️

Take yourself out of your work grind and plan ahead to do something special for yourself. Whether you’re at the start of your week and you’re longing for the weekend or you’re quickly approaching the last weekday, make sure to reward yourself for all that you’ve accomplished. Remember, you’ve dedicated plenty of time to your work, it’s time to dedicate time to yourself.

Add Raftr’s wellness break checklist to your workspace, download and print the PDF version below. Make sure to keep it easily accessible to glance at and mark off whenever you’re in need of a wellness break idea!

 Download Raftr’s Printable Wellness Break Checklist