August 14, 2015

When Your Brain Needs A Break

Agency Life: Breaks

Photo: Hannah Clark

As essayist Tim Kreider so eloquently phrased in this New York Times article: “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.”

And, potentially very subjectively speaking as a generally productive but would-take-three-naps-a-day-if-I-could college student, I couldn’t agree more. While I would like to think of myself as a champion of efficiency, using every minute of every workday productively is a feat that, in my book, may be impossible.

And many, including more established and refutable intellectuals than myself, would agree. The general consensus among numerous scientific studies is that taking some downtime during a busy day “increases productivity, replenishes attention, solidifies memories and encourages creativity,” demonstrating that “the brain requires substantial downtime to remain industrious and generate its most innovative ideas.” And who can argue with science, people?!

That’s why I am and always have been a proponent of taking breaks. My productivity sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle of the all-work, all-play spectrum.

So here is, if you’ve made it past the preamble, a short list of a few of my go-to’s for an occasional mental hiatus after I realize I’ve read through the same sentence seven times: 

Honestly WTF: Equal parts DIY, editorial, art, fashion, beauty, and art, this blog, while shamelessly girly, is where I get out of my mind for a few minutes everyday. Some favorite posts of mine come from the Art thread, which highlights upcoming and established artist’s new and innovative pieces.

Design-Milk: I’m a real sucker for modern architecture. This is a great blog if you’re looking for some #homespiration or just want to stare in awe at beautifully contemporary mansions, interiors, and furniture.

deMilked: Great for an afternoon pick-me-up and usually good for a laugh or two. From posts on National Geographic photo contest winners to thoughts so absurd they might actually work, this blog is a fun and eclectic mix of thought provoking findings around the web.

Spotify: Looking for new music can be a great de-stressor and mental stimulator! Spotify has a very comprehensive browse section where you can search tunes by charts, genres, moods, and new releases. A favorite place of mine to explore is Discover Weekly, a playlist Spotify throws together based on your current song, playlist, and radio selection.

Mashable: Where I go for my news with a twist. Mashable is a fun way to stay tuned to current events, tech and social trends, and some sillier stories without feeling like you’re reading the New Yorker.

Buzzfeed: Well duh, but especially its food listicles despite my lack of culinary prowess and motivation to ever actually attempt a recipe.

Instagram: I’m the type of person who has to scroll through every single photo on my feed until I’m completely caught up. Leaving that for the end of the workday would just be exhausting! Thus, one of my most religious and frequent time-outs involves checking the insta.

Still not feeling it yet? Check out my latest Spotify playlist. As my internship winds down here at Delucchi I’ve decided to exit with a bang (or baked goods and a kind of lame, sappy playlist) to commemorate and say goodbye to the wonderful past three months of my agency life. I am eternally grateful to everyone at the office who has taken me in, given me significant work and constructive guidance, and made this internship and my agency experience a truly substantive one.