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Little Moments, Big Rewards: How Micro-Breaks Help Nurses Recharge and Refocus

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Nursing and Stress. What are micro-breaks, and how can they help?

When fully immersed in a task at work, you can become unaware of the strain and fatigue your body is feeling.

Micro breaks help reset your body and mind, taking a moment to relax before continuing with a busy day.

What is a micro-break?

A micro-break is any period of time taken away from any physically or mentally draining task. This can include both work and leisure tasks.

Micro breaks can last a few seconds up to several minutes. They can include activities such as looking at your phone, making a cup of tea, or simply going to the restroom.

The mental break that micro-breaks give your mind and body helps you to refocus and improve concentration when you return to your task.

Positive effects from taking a micro-break

Some of the positive outcomes of taking a micro break may include:

● A calming effect- Micro breaks can reduce your heart rate, making you feel calmer.

● Become more engaged- Giving your brain a mental break will stop you from becoming disengaged from your work and give you a boost of concentration when you start work again

● Feel less stressed- Taking a physical break from your work allows your body to rest and relax before continuing your duties.

Different micro-break ideas

1. Walk through a doorway

The doorway effect is a real phenomenon; walking through a doorway has been shown to help alleviate stress and reset our short-term memory.

2. Prepare a snack

Bonus points if it's a healthy snack. Using different skills and focusing on something else for a few minutes helps reset your concentration.

3. Watch a funny video

Laughing is well known for relieving stress, and watching funny videos on your phone is a perfect way to unwind on a micro-break; make sure you don't lose track of time.

4. Talk to or text a friend

Humans are social beings, and checking in regularly with loved ones is proven to have a positive impact on both parties. A quick chat with a friend can help improve your well-being and decrease anxiety.

5. Listen to a guided meditation

Complete a quick guided meditation to recenter yourself during a busy shift. There are lots of apps that provide this service and can help improve your meditation techniques.

6. Do a quick stretch or hold poses

Taking time to appreciate our bodies and becoming aware of the tension we can carry throughout the day can help to alleviate headaches, backache, and general tense muscles.

7. Read a book

Reading a book during a micro-break gives you an escape from what is happening around you and allows your heart rate to slow and your body to relax.

If you've found yourself taking part in any of the above activities without even realizing it might be that your body naturally knows how to reset itself during periods of repetitive or stressful tasks.

Now that you know what a micro-break is, you can plan to make sure you're getting the most out of yourself during work tasks and your much-needed micro-breaks.



  1. What do you think about micro breaks?

  2. Do you regularly take micro-breaks at work?

  3. What benefits will you see if you start to take meaningful micro breaks?


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