When last did you take a full lunch hour break? The reality is, cramming in extra time at your desk can actually have a negative impact on your health. Here’s how you can take back your lunch hour and give your overall health a boost.
1. Walk away from your desk
Sitting in front of a computer for eight long hours a day can become a bit much. The simple act of getting up and stretching your arms and legs will make a big difference. Why not use the opportunity to get some sunshine as well? A change of scenery can do wonders for your mind and body. You may even find that you’re able to work better once you return.
2. Downtime = productivity
Research reveals that taking a real break at lunchtime is better for your levels of motivation, productivity and overall health. When you regularly skip a lunch break, you run the risk of burnout and fatigue. Using lunch to replenish your energy levels with healthy food and some downtime will help you refocus on your return. You’ll feel more enthusiastic and creative, too.
3. Get out of the office
If possible, get out of the office environment and visit a local restaurant or have lunch at the park, alone or with a colleague. It’s a good idea to be realistic with your time — try not to achieve too much during your break, as you may very well end up even more frazzled than before.
Do things that will give you fresh energy, like a yoga class at the gym or a brisk walk around the block. Read a book or treat yourself to a short back, neck and shoulder massage. A little treat, just for you, every once in a while will do you the world of good. And why not!
If the idea of not working during lunch sounds too crazy to fathom, use the time to network and engage with colleagues and clients. Taking clients out for a lunch is strategically a great way to mix business and pleasure.
6. Mix things up
Frequenting the same spot can become monotonous, so vary your lunch schedule and think of creative ways to step out. What about a short city tour or visit to an art gallery? Even if your time is limited, you’ll find that the possibilities are endless if you take the time to find out what’s on your doorstep.
7. Don’t take too long or too short a break
Taking too long a break may prove stressful if you have to rush back to the office. Too short a break may not prove effective. Plan a break in your day that works for you. Make sure there’s someone to cover for you while you’re out, so you can enjoy a stress-free lunch break.