I work from home at the moment so I just end up cleaning my apartment or do a quick grocery shop run. When I was in the offices I'd always try to get a 15 mins "walking coffee" (tea is fine too!) scheduled with some colleague ~3-4pm in the afternoon.
My schedule would be:
The main break I take is at lunch. When the weather is good like it has been this week, I go out to the parking lot and play guitar for about 30 minutes or so.
Other times, I'll walk around, down to the lobby area and back and forth a few times, going up and down the stairs.
The hardest part for me is changing context. I can endure 8-12 hours of pure programming but I'm having difficulties handling a meeting after lunch then going straight back to programming. If I don't take breaks, I usually just browse Facebook or some social media until I have enough mindless "reboot" time to get back on track. And I do get your point, it doesn't feel like a real break at all, indeed.
The most effective technique for me however is going down our building and taking a walk outside. I sometimes meditate in a park nearby. This really helps me empty my mind, and it's also a good way to rest my eyes.
For breaking in between bursts of programming, I operate by having small talk with my officemates or just eating a snack.
How about you?
The small talk is not always an option to me (I'm alone in my office) and my other colleagues have their own projects and schedules, so I don't like barging in just to talk. Even classical coffee breaks are not a thing were I work.
Going out for a walk could be a good break, but then I should find someone to do it with me, or I'll get bored after a few times.
Meditation (which I do and enjoy at others times of the day) would surely do, I'll give it a shot... when I'll be rested enough, right now I would just fall asleep trying 😁
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