Healthy break activities

Healthy break activities are no- to low-cost and are designed to encourage employees to take regular breaks even during the busiest workdays. The activities fall into one of three categories – calming, energizing or relaxing.

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Most people are given some break time in their regular workday to help them unwind and refocus. What you do during that break time could have an impact on your workplace mental health.

You may not wish to do every activity, so choose those that are a good fit for you in your workplace. You may be amazed at the positive results that can be achieved by investing just a few minutes each day.

All of the activity ideas can be adapted to accommodate different abilities and were developed by people who are interested in health and wellness from across the country. Many of these activities can be done either individually at your desk or as a group.

For those who want to take healthy breaks as a team, there are easy ways to adapt the activities for even more fun.

Calming break activities

This category of activities helps calm the mind for those who feel pressure, overwhelmed, or anxiety at work. It can help you refocus your thoughts through journaling, meditating or other activities. See Calming break activities to learn more.  

Energizing break activities

These activities are for those who have repetitive or sedentary work. It can help energize both mind and body to help you refresh through activities that include moving, playing and social connection. See Energizing break activities to learn more.  

Relaxing break activities

This set of activities is ideal for those whose work includes physical exertion. They help you to relax through stretching, arts or breathing. It helps to prepare you to resume physical activity in a healthy way. See Relaxing break activities to learn more.  

Break takers share their stories

"Taking some time for a break to recharge, using the 'Take Your Break' activities, helps me relax and re-focus."

"Wonderful resources. I feel my body relax during the 15 minute break while laughing with colleagues."

"I thoroughly enjoyed the tasks within the Take your break basket (especially the finding pictures!) as it was a great way to break up the day and was always enjoyed by all. I think it is an amazing idea that we should definitely continue!"

"In our client-focused jobs, it's easy to become immersed within the work and the problems and forget to take a moment to take a break and refocus. Having the short work break exercises using the tools provided in the basket was a fun way to structure 'being made to' take a break."

"It has been a great stress reliever and team building exercise which has allowed us to refocus and remain productive even during times of high demand."

"It has given us a nice work/life balance to the 8:30–4:30 workday."

Workshop materials

Learning to recharge workshop

This workshop introduces different approaches to wellness breaks at work. These ideas can help energize, calm the mind and relax the body. Engaging your team in all of the activities allows each individual to choose the ones that best support them on any given day.

Work-life balance tips emails series

The work-balance tips emails series includes some healthy break activities as well as tips for how to balance work and life

Contributors include.articlesMary Ann Baynton

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