Many people spend their lunch breaks sitting at their desk, not making use of the hour or so they have in the day to take for themselves. Instead eating a sad lunch or staying sedentary, there are a number of other healthy things you can do during your lunch break that will not only give you time to relax, but can even improve your productivity later on. Taking breaks is important to reset your mind, so why not do something beneficial during that time?
"Lunch break is a great time to do something healthy because it's a built in time of the day just for you," says holistic health and wellness coach Samantha Elrkief over email. "Most people don't take advantage of this time and end up extra tired, worn out, and bored in the afternoon. Taking the time to do something stimulating gives you a much needed break that, if used well, can give you an extra boost of energy in the afternoon and increase productivity at the same time."
If you want to start taking advantage of your lunch hour, consider doing one of these eight healthy things during your lunch break instead of sitting at your desk.
1. Take A Walk
"Get up and move," says Elkrief. "Leave your desk and take a walk around the office or outside if you can, even if it's just to visit a coworker." Taking a walk can improve your mood, boost your energy levels, and even improve your memory, according to multiple studies.
2. Organize Your Space
Before heading out, take a few minutes to organize your workspace to have a clean start for the afternoon," says life coach Emily Marquis over email. "Write down up to three things to accomplish in the afternoon and set aside prepped information for upcoming meetings. Close out unnecessary programs on the computer before turning off the screen for break. Having a decluttered external environment can reduce stress internally."
3. Go Outside
"Getting a change of scenery is great for the mind," says Marquis. "Try to get into nature as much as possible." Even just five minutes outside can help improve your mood and wellbeing, according to a study from the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
"Meet co-workers in the break room with a rule not to talk about work," says Marquis. "Build relationships and network with colleagues you may normally not get an opportunity to interact with. Schedule a call on the phone with a long distant friend or meet someone for lunch. Better yet, meet someone for a walk."
5. Take A Nap
If you can find a safe, appropriate space, you might want to sneak in a 20 minute nap during your lunch break. "Taking a quick power nap can give you more endurance for the afternoon and be a great recharge — especially if you didn’t catch enough Zzz’s the night before," says Marquis. "Go to your car, tilt your seat back and shut your eyes. Some companies even have sleeping lounges for employees."
Most people are on their cell phones and computers all day, so lunch is a good time to step away from all that screen time. "Totally disconnect from the screen by venturing off into another land," says Marquis. "Find a quiet place to relax, open a book, and enjoy. Try a coloring book, sketching or writing in a journal to get your creative juices flowing."
7. Eat A Healthy Lunch — And Enjoy It
It might seem obvious, but taking time to eat lunch during your lunch break is important — and don't just shovel down food while you work. Step away from your desk and savor your meal. Mindfully eating, which involves using all your sense to slowly enjoy your food, can help not only relax you, but even encourage you to make healthier choices, according to Harvard Health.
Sitting all day can wreak havoc on your muscles, so take the time to do some simple stretches during your lunch break. Even if you can't get outside or to a more open space to do some larger stretches, there are plenty of stretches you can do at your desk to help eliminate any tension.
The more you take advantage of your lunch break, the more refreshed and recharged you'll feel.
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