As scientists from Romania found out, small ten-minute breaks in solving work matters help to cope with emotional burnout and general fatigue. But it is important that these are activities not related to work: helping a colleague or switching to other tasks will be ineffective.
It is known that constant stress at work strongly affects a person’s emotional state and can lead to burnout. As Naked Science points out, the WHO even included burnout in the international classification of diseases: even if it is not a disease, it can provoke the development of serious disorders.
To “prevent” emotional burnout, it is recommended to periodically distract and switch attention, and recently Romanian scientists tested the effectiveness of this approach. They conducted a meta-analysis and summarized the results of 22 psychological experiments conducted over the past 30 years.
In some experiments, people were offered to go for a walk, stretch, watch a video or just relax, in others – to switch from one of their tasks to another or to attend to the affairs of colleagues. Analysis of the results of all these situations showed that breaks, which allow a person to be completely distracted from work tasks, are useful and necessary. After a break, the level of fatigue and negative emotions decreases, people are also able to evaluate their own work results more highly.
It is best to devote micro-breaks to physical activity, but it takes more time to fully restore productivity after performing some creative or routine office tasks.