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Mini-break or long holiday?

Short breaks (or just a lunch break) are better than long ones for health and happiness. Here’s why –

  1. You’re more likely to spend time outside.
  2. Just 200 minutes (or 30 minutes per day) is enough to make a difference. 
  3. Any green space will do – even a view from a window will help – Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing
  4. A weekend camping is enough to reset your body clock – Can’t get to sleep? A wilderness weekend can help


The stress of getting ready for a two-week break – and tackling your in-box when you get back – can mean you spend the first days of your long-awaited holiday recovering (how often do you go down with a cold as soon as you take the pressure off?) and the sunshine can feel like a distant memory within a week.

The solution: take mini-breaks and get outside more every day.

Thanks to Gioovanna Jagger, Penny goodall-quraishi, Anne-marie Aguilar and the team at WELL for the inspiration with their ‘restorative breaks’ emails.


Say OOO every day

Nearly 1 in 3 remote workers aged 40 and younger check work email within a minute of waking. 38% say ‘email fatigue’ is likely to make them quit – The state of your inbox in 2021: email burnout and browsing in bed

Blue light from your computer is like a coffee for your brain and reduces the amount of the hormone melatonin that helps you fall into a deep sleep..

Blue-blocking glasses and blue screen filters can help but don’t solve the problem: you’re answering emails or scrolling through social media. 

Add an ‘out of office hours’ message to your email signature so your colleagues know you are serious about doing a good job when you log in again refreshed.

A delight to work with the Wellbeing team at the brilliant VCCP last week – VCCP’S DE&I COLLECTIVE NAMED CAMPAIGN TALENT MANAGEMENT TEAM OF THE YEAR

Amy Campbell, Kim Jamieson, and Sarah Hay are on a mission to transform the ‘always on’ culture in the agency world. No wonder they attract such incredible talent…


Bring the outside in

Plants in your workspace will give your body and a mini-break every day. How?

  1. They can cut your blood pressure and boost academic achievement. 
  2. Plants can even improve reaction times and brain activity. 

Effects of Indoor Plants on Human Functions: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analyses

They will let you know if there isn’t enough light in your space too: choose plants that are ‘low light’ tolerant  like ferns and peace lilies. They need around 1,000 lux for several hours every day – “Bright indirect light?” This spot seems bright enough. 

And so do you!

Here are some of my companions – inspired by the brilliant Oliver Heath whose book Design a Healthy Home is bursting with great practical tips about small changes that make a big difference


Dig that smile

Getting out in your garden – or a community garden like my local Bridport Community Orchard – is another great way to enjoy a ‘staycation’ fix of Vitamin D-boosting sunlight.

Take the kids with you to reduce obesity, improve flexibility and even reduce their risk of needing glasses too. 

School Gardening and Health and Well-Being of School-Aged Children: A Realist Synthesis, Sunlight Exposure: A Protective Role in the Development of Myopia


Curl up with a good book – Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

To quote the preface: ‘Work and rest aren’t like two opposites, like black and white, good and evil. They are like different points on life’s wave…They’re inextricably bound, each enhancing the other.”

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