If you don’t have a cushy salaried position with long paid lunches and paid time off, it can be difficult to find time during the day to recharge. After all, time is literally money when you’re an hourly worker. However, if you’re too stressed or feel overworked, you can feel an emotional and physical toll. That toll can become financial as well. Workplace stress is expensive, costing almost $190 billion dollars per year in elevated health costs. Health issues can mean not only healthcare costs but lost wages as well. Practicing wellness to help control stress is vital for hourly wage workers.
How do you work much-needed wellness breaks into an hourly shift? We have some tips to help you maximize your brief breaks to make sure you’re giving yourself a chance to recharge your emotional and mental batteries.
It’s tempting to head to the break room, employee lounge, or cafeteria during your breaks. You may just want to sit down and rest your aching feet and the break room is the closest place to do it. It’s likely that your break room is not the best spot to recharge mentally, however, as you’ll be surrounded by coworkers and more than likely job talk will continue.
Going outside into green spaces can help reduce depression and stress. If you’re going to spend five or ten minutes mindfully, give yourself the maximum payout on your time investment and get into nature whenever possible.
Sometimes the best way to leave all your stress and worries behind is to just carve out a little time to meditate. It’s best to find a quiet space to do this, but even turning your chair toward the wall in a break room can help create the mental space you may need.
The key with a mindfulness break in a busy or crowded space is not to simply zone out for a few minutes. Be intentional. Focus on a specific object or word or thought. Make sure you feel physically present in your body. Even just a five-minute break to practice mindfulness can help alleviate the mounting stress of busy shift work.
Most of us are addicted to our smartphones. They’re often the first things we reach for when we get a quiet moment or two to ourselves. They are not always the best tool to help us recharge mentally and emotionally, however. Try using your precious break time to read a magazine article or a book. Reading has the power to transport you out of the place you are physically, to give your brain a new world to inhabit or new things to ponder.
Try keeping a humorous memoir or a good romance or sci-fi page-turner. These don’t need to be deep reads, just engrossing ones. If you’re not sure where to start with entertaining books, try asking your local librarian. They’ll have wonderful suggestions for you.