Have you ever focused on a project for so long that your brain feel like it's turning to mush? Or have your kids sat for so long, looking at a word or phrase that it started to look wrong? Taking time for a brain break or brain boost could fix that for everyone. Spending a few minutes away from whatever you’re doing can keep your mind sharp and focused. Brain boosts and brain breaks are great ways to increase or refocus your energy during your day, but what’s the difference?
Brain breaks and boosts can be relaxing and soothing ways that you can refocus your energy. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), meditation and relaxation have physical benefits as they calms the nervous system and decreases stress hormones. Brain boosts and breaks can also be active, moment-based ways that will promote increased oxygen to the heart and lungs, which encourages blood flow throughout the body. Studies have shown benefits for gastrointestinal symptoms, obesity, headaches, high blood pressure, pain sensitivity, and immune function. Try one of these brain break activities at break time for a calming way to center your brain.
Do nothing for two minutes. Don’t underestimate the power of stillness for your mental well-being. Drop everything for a couple of minutes to just sit and relax. Set a timer and let your worries fade away for a couple of minutes.
Enjoy a mo‘mint’ to yourself. Studies suggest peppermint increases your mental and physical alertness. Enjoy peppermint candy or gum, take a whiff of peppermint oil, or even take a brain break to brush your teeth. Come back to your work refreshed and ready to go.
Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness comes in many forms ─ meditation, listening to music, or getting up to enjoy a snack. Use our Mindful Moments cards for easy ways to practice mindfulness at home. Taking the time to act intentionally helps your mind recharge and encourages you to indulge in small moments during your day. For more ideas on ways to practice mindfulness, click here.
We talked to Dr. Kristen Ford, an expert in health and physical education at Concordia College and co-founder of SchoolsAlive! alongside Dr. Jenny Linker, professor of physical education at North Dakota State University, about how we can use brain breaks and boosts to give our minds and bodies a much-needed energy bump. “Brain boosts invigorate the body and mind. Even just five minutes will increase your heart rate, get the blood flowing, and promote mental focus.” Ford encourages taking time to recharge your mind and body, and some more of our favorite options are below
Use our fitBoost activity to get your body moving! Get active for a few minutes and get the family in on the fun. Pair the activity with our fitBoost cards, all you need is a quick break to get your move on before you get back to your day.
Get up and stretch out. Take some time to stretch and your body will thank you. Hop up from your desk and touch your toes or do a quick yoga flow. Getting the blood moving in your body encourages more oxygen to your brain and increases your ability to focus.
Take a dance break. Put on your favorite song or playlist and dance it out. Even just a few minutes to listen to a song and get some wiggles out will encourage blood flow in your body and motivate your mood.
Regardless of how you take your break, make sure you’re giving yourself time to refocus. Having the energy and focus you need is vital to being productive and staying healthy. To find more resources to recharge your body and brain, click here.