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How Taking A Break From Work Actually Made Me A Better Team Player

'I've learned how to slow down and prioritize myself, too.'
PHOTO: COURTESY OF LOU
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It's been a little over two years since I started working from home on a daily basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To be completely honest, transitioning to this kind of setup wasn't quick and easy. Let's be real: If you're in the same situation as I am, you've probably experienced working longer hours and felt like the boundaries between your professional and personal life are blurred (sometimes, even non-existent).

But if there's one major lesson I've learned throughout this entire time, it's that my mental and physical health matter most. And it's not like one outweighs the other—both are equally important. So despite my schedule at work, I've made it a point to take care of myself more by taking breaks. From going offline, to exercising, and even trying new hobbies, setting aside some time for myself really makes all the difference, especially when it comes to work. Not only did it make me feel better, but it also helped me become a better employee. Keep reading to know more. 

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Here are some activities I've been doing to take a break from work.

Going offline

In my line of work, I spend a lot of time online. I'm basically in front of my laptop and phone all day, but when work is done, I make sure to follow a *hard stop.* This means I turn off my notifications and only reply to those that are urgent. Instead of looking at a screen, I listen to my favorite music and just ~chill~ in my room.

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Journaling

When I was in college, one of my professors introduced me to the idea of "Morning Pages." It's a kind of habit where you write as soon as you wake up, and you're free to write about literally anything—from random phrases to affirmations, and more. Ever since, I've enjoyed the idea of putting my thoughts on paper. I share how I feel, list down what my goals are, and look back at some memories. It's *so* therapeutic!

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Break from work: writing a journal
COURTESY OF LOU

Trying a new hobby: Nail art

Not gonna lie, one of my current obsessions is making my nails look pretty, LOL. Since I can't go to the nail salon given the quarantine restrictions, I might as well work on them myself. One time, I splurged on about 10 packs of nail stickers because the designs are just too cute not to buy! My latest budol is actually a nail lamp dryer and several bottles of gel nail polish. (Feeling professional lang, haha!)

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Nail art
COURTESY OF LOU
nail polish
COURTESY OF LOU
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Exercising 

Pre-pandemic, I would always attend indoor cycling classes once or twice a week after work. When the pandemic hit and I could no longer go to cycling studios, I got myself an indoor bike so that I could still exercise and stay fit even while spending most of my time at home. Now more than ever, it's really important to take care of our health. I've learned to include workouts as part of my daily routine, even when I'm on my period! Of course, after an intense cardio sweat sesh, part of my essentials to feeling fresh and clean is the GynePro feminine wash. It really helps me conquer my red days especially when I work out, and gives extra protection against vaginal odor, itch, and irritation.

exercising
COURTESY OF LOU
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GynePro feminine wash
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Walking 

This has got to be one of my favorite activities so far. Taking my dog out for a walk is really something I look forward to each day. Aside from being able to go "out" (even if it's just within our neighborhood), it allows me to clear my mind and take some time off a screen.

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taking the dog out for a walk
COURTESY OF LOU
village street
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Decluttering

I'm pretty OC so having an organized workspace means everything to me. It definitely affects my productivity too! Getting rid of things that don't ~spark joy~ is something I try to do whenever I have free time. I get to reflect a little and focus on the things that really matter. 

study room design - desk area
COURTESY OF LOU FERRER
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The best part about all these is that taking a break from work didn't just give me a chance to put my mental and physical health first. Somehow, it also positively affected the way I work with my teammates. I noticed that these mini breaks clear my mind and make me well-rested. As a result, I'm more productive and I'm able to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Plus, giving my brain a break allows me to hit that imaginary *reset* button so that I can come up with fresh, new ideas that I can contribute to my team. As a social media editor, I'm constantly monitoring trends and creating fun, relevant content about viral topics. Working in the creative field requires me to attend multiple meetings and brainstorming sessions, too. By taking breaks, I'm more comfortable and it shows that I'm able to put more thought into what I do, all while keeping me inspired. 

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So in case you need it, this is your sign to make time for yourself because you are a priority too. Take a break from work and do something that you love. You got this! At the end of the day, you'll realize that the results are totally worth it. ;) 

MORE "BRB, TAKING A BREAK" STORIES HERE:

I Started These 5 Hobbies To Take Care Of My Mental Health—Here's What Happened

I Find Comfort In Cooking And Baking Because It Helps Me Deal With My Anxiety

I Started Biking To Get Over Burnout And It Changed My Life

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Cosmopolitan Philippines is now on Quento! Click here to download the app and enjoy more articles and videos from Cosmo and your favorite websites!