Thanks to the greater awareness of our mental health in recent years, it is easier to notice problems such as anxiety, depression and overheating (the so-called burnout). To a large extent, the work load is responsible for them.
However, a new study shows that we don’t have to stop working completely to maintain normal mental health. It is enough to simply make our working time “non-linear”.
A study by a meditation app called Brain Health Report showed that indicators such as memory, focus, sleep, productivity, creativity were higher in people who slightly changed the traditional work rhythm from 9 am to 5 pm (Muse’s 2022 Brain Health Report provides insight into the many aspects of people’s lifestyle that positively contributes to or alternatively, detracts from, one’s overall brain health exploring six key areas commonly associated with brain health, including: memory, focus, sleep, mood, productivity and creativity).
“Again, you have regular periods where you work, but they don’t fit into the traditional ‘9 to 5’ with a lunch break,” explains Nadia Kumentas, MD, naturopathic doctor. In our non-linear workday, we consider the periods when we are productive.
This means that if we are more productive in the morning, we can start work much earlier and take short breaks whenever we need to. When we force ourselves to work outside of our natural rhythm, the consequences for our mental health are inevitable.
Brain Health Report research shows that people who alternate mental and physical breaks with work, who periodically go for a short walk, talk with their colleagues and meditate can boast better sleep, memory and productivity.
“Give your eyes a break and do some physical exercise. Preferably in the fresh air. And don’t forget to stretch,” Dr. Kumentas tells Fast Company.
Kumentas says nonlinear workdays are perfect for people who work remotely and whose work is measured on output versus hours. Adopting a nonlinear workday is also easier if you work at an organization that takes a more flexible approach to schedules.
Photo: Stas Knop/Pexels via https://www.fastcompany.com/.