If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s this: Taking care of your mental health is more important than ever. One way to do that? Take mental breaks throughout the day, especially if you’re spending more time at home or feeling more stressed than you once were.

Mental breaks serve a simple purpose. “It’s a conscious effort to channel your mind’s focus on something which provides stress relief,” says Bethany Cook, Psy.D., licensed clinical psychologist, health service psychologist and board certified music therapist in Chicago. Think things like meditating, taking a walk free of devices or even cooking or baking. “The primary goal is to offer your mind a space to escape from the daily stress of life and modern living.”

That’s, of course, key, given how many people function in go mode and rarely take the time to slow down. “Small breaks, even for just a few minutes, allow you to get attuned to what you’re feeling, what you need, what’s going on with you physically and so much more,” says Michele Goldman, Psy.D., clinical psychologist at Columbia Health in New York City and media spokesperson for Hope for Depression Research Foundation. Immediately, you’ll feel more grounded, less stressed and tense, and recharged and re-energized.