caption: Escape the office and do something you love on your next lunchbreak
Many of us work 9 to 5 jobs, often in an office setting. So naturally, we look forward to that pause in the middle of the day when we can have a break from work, almost as much as we look forward to home time! The sad thing is that many of us aren’t making the best use of this break. We are often answering emails and fielding calls well into our lunch hour. We grab dried-out pre-packaged sandwiches for lunch, scoff them on the way back to the office and then get right back to work, hoping to get ahead. If this sounds familiar, then take these five tips and try applying them to your lunch breaks next week. We guarantee that you’ll notice a huge difference.
Switch Off Completely
The first tip is without a doubt the most important on this list and that is to switch off your electronics. Incoming calls, emails and anything to do with work can definitely wait for an hour. Having no distractions will help you to relax and enjoy your break from work properly; it’s called a break for a reason. If you’re feeling guilty about not being available then keep in mind that in France it is illegal for employers to require their employees to be available outside of their contracted hours, which includes lunch! So, if your boss has a problem with it, do as the French do and tell them it’s not your problem until you clock back in.
Make Time For Movement
Once you’ve switched off all of your devices it’s time to get to the good stuff. Squeezing just a little exercise into your lunch break is something all of us should be striving to do. Desk workers and others with relatively inactive jobs could try this five-minute yoga practice that was originally designed with poker players in mind. The moves in this practice stretch out your back and neck gently, to relieve some of the stress that they’re under from sitting down for so long. Yoga is also a really office-friendly choice as a slow yoga session shouldn’t make you sweaty (nobody likes a stinky coworker) and doesn’t take up much room either.
Make Time For Stillness
Once you’ve had your yoga practice, or similar light exercise, it’s time to relax. Take a minimum of five minutes to sit in a quiet space and try to empty your mind. You can meditate if you like, or if you find it easier you can take a steady walk. Those who really struggle with clearing their heads often find that a slow walk helps. As you walk. listen to the sounds around you, feel the breeze on your skin, take note of what smells are in the air and check in to each of your five senses in turn. Concentrating on your senses is called grounding and will help you feel more present and connected, particularly if you suffer a little from stress or anxiety.
Plan Lunch Ahead
A filling and healthy lunch can make a dramatic difference to your productivity levels, as well as your waistline, your heart health and your wallet! Pre-packaged lunches are okay in a pinch, but it is so much healthier to make lunch yourself. Not all of us have time every single morning to whip up something incredible, so instead make a batch of something at the weekend that you can keep in the fridge or freezer and defrost as necessary. Pasta and a homemade tomato sauce with lots of high fiber veggies is a great freezer option. Salad, made with hardier leaves like kale or brussels sprouts is perfect for the fridge, pack it full of other veggies on the day, top with seeds and bring a pot of dressing to toss through it once you get to work. It’s easy and cheap and will keep you full all afternoon.
Do Something You Enjoy
Finally, if you’ve got a few minutes left after all of that then use it to do something that you enjoy. It could be a quick phone conversation with a friend, the crossword in the local newspaper or tuning into your favourite radio show for a few minutes. We each have little things that bring us joy and it pays to squeeze some into your lunch break if you possibly can.