Blog - Taking time out is just the ticket!

Open space with park and underground car park in central city settingTaking time out is so good for the brain. I’ve just returned from a wonderful trip away to England and France, and just to be able enjoy ‘being’ rather than constantly ‘doing’ was such a treat! It reminded me not only of the importance of taking a holiday when we can, but just how and where we choose to take a break during the course of our work day can make a positive difference.

I’m interested in spaces and how people use them, and travelling is great for giving different opportunities to observe. Travelling on the tube in London was a very crowded, hot experience and of those people who did get a chance to sit down, most had their heads buried in their mobile phones, or were plugged into noise cancelling earphones listening to something more exciting than the sounds of the tube whistling along, and next station announcements interspersed with “mind the gap”! Had I been better organised with earphones, I think I would have found this to be a great way to listen to a good story. But then of course, we can still do that travelling on public transport here in Christchurch.

Obviously from my tube travels, you can tell that some of the holiday was spent in London. And, while walking along the South Bank, beside St. Thomas’ Hospital, I was really impressed with how they had made use of the space. There was a single level car park, and on top of it was a beautiful grassy square, with a large fountain in the middle and plenty of park benches around to sit on. There happened to be a food market with mobile stalls in the square the day that we were there, and lots of hospital staff outside enjoying some fresh air and a break from the clamour of the hospital.

When I’m out and about talking to people, I like to ask them what they do in their lunch break, as it’s all too easy these days to let that time slip by and stay at our desks. Rather than browsing the internet, lunchtime provides a great opportunity to take a break from your everyday environment, get outside and give your legs a bit of a stretch.

Even though you might (hopefully) go into the lunch room, the chances are that you will sit down at the lunch table or on a comfy sofa if that’s an option. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you are doing physical work and are on your feet for most of the day, if you do have a sedentary job, it is so much better for your brain to take that break outside, in the sunlight, have a bit of a walk to increase your circulation and get those neurons in your brain reconnecting and giving you, literally, a buzz, so you’re ready to tackle the afternoon.

I know that here in Christchurch, there are some lovely areas to enjoy at lunchtime. If your workplace is on an industrial site, or in the suburbs, without a park or other beautified outside spaces, what are your options. Have you made, or can you or your business find a patch and make it a more attractive place that encourages everyone to get outside? Maybe some seats, a barbecue type table with some shade if needed… whatever your opportunities, take a look and step outside, enjoy the fresh air, even if only for a moment. It really is good for you.