Taking a short break… but is it a mental break?

Sometimes in the office I feel the need for a break from science. But what does that even mean?  A break from standing on my feet in the lab? Yes. A break from reading scientific papers and analyzing data? Yes. A break should just be a physical and mental unwinding shouldn’t it; to rest my legs from standing, hands from typing, eyes from screen staring…?

So in keeping with the concept of taking a break whereby the part of the body that was engaged is rested during this break, can I really say that I also rest my brain. The answer appears to be no. Instead, on most instances, I’d pick up my cell phone and seek out more information to bombard my brain, either from the news or from social media.

It’s as if I am addicted to information influx and I wonder if this isn’t such a good thing. It seems I am now wired to desire updates from my internet feed at every opportunity, even when my brain is already overflowing. Coming to think of it, calling it a news ‘feed’ is a great term by whoever coined it, because it suggests there is an element of necessity- we feed ourselves food to survive and now we feed ourselves information. And just as we can obsess over food and lose control over how much we ingest, I think there is also a capacity to lose control over information intake and to crave it constantly. This is facilitated by its accessibility; I can simply find it in the palm of my hand. And although this excess information is more easily digestible than the science, there must also exist some level of processing. This must mean that it takes away from my mental energy.

I’d like to make a change in my daily habits and have more self control with regard to information ingestion. I need to make my breaks true to their meaning, and allow myself to really pause, and simply sip my tea or eat my snack without having to scroll through my phone. Maybe even a good idea to rest my eyes for a moment or two…

Thank you for reading my thoughts again this week! If you can relate, please do leave a comment 🙂



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