What You Should Actually Do on Your Lunch Break

Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler

February 27, 2017

We’re all guilty of working through our lunch breaks. The intention is to get a few more things done. You tell yourself you’re getting ahead. You may be right, but in terms of your mental and physical health, you aren’t doing anyone any favors. Not only are you ignoring what your body and mind need to stay healthy, you’re setting an unrealistic standard for what your employer expects from you.

It’s understandable that you want to use all of the time you can to be productive. The answer to this problem is as simple as changing the way you think about being productive. You want to walk away from your workplace satisfied with the amount of work you did. The eight hours you work in a day are enough. Your lunch hour is yours, not your company’s.

Never Eat at Your Desk

Your desk starts to feel like your little home. You spend 8+ hours a day there. Your coffee cup has its spot. Your desk chair feels exactly right. And you know exactly how far you need to roll your chair to get to your trash can. How could you not feel like you belong there?

You need to feel comfortable at your desk, you know, because of the whole eight-hours-a-day thing; but, don’t let it go too far. Eating lunch away from your desk is the easiest way to step away and clear your head. If there isn’t a place in your office where you can go to eat and relax, go to the nearest cafe. Go anywhere you’d like really, as long as it’s far enough from your desk to not think about your work.

Go Outside

Your lunch break is the perfect time to go outside. Take a walk. Get some fresh air and vitamin D. Your back will thank you for the change in posture.

You spend over half of your day staring at a screen under fluorescent lighting. There is a reason some people grow to hate their office jobs—they don’t balance their time at the office. If the weather permits, head outside with a cup of tea and take a short walk. It’s guaranteed to give you the energy boost you need to power through the rest of your day.

Self Care

Your lunch hour gives you a mental break you don’t always allow yourself to have. Blow off steam by exercising. Go to a yoga class or play a quick game of basketball. Or use your time to unwind with a haircut or massage. The fear sometimes lies in worry that people will think you’re less of a hard worker if you take time for yourself. On the contrary, any form of self-care will dramatically improve your work quality. Because, really, if you push through instead, you’ll just end up staring at your screen. It happens to the best of us. Give yourself a break.

No matter what you choose, when you look back on the day, you won’t regret taking care of yourself.

Be Creative

Chances are, you’ve thought at least once that you’d like to have more time to read. Your lunch break is the perfect time. You can also listen to a podcast or do some journaling. Anything that gets your creative juices flowing will take you out of work mode. You’ll find that giving your brain some downtime will give you perspective and help you do your best work for the second half of the day.

Take advantage of your time. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you for taking the time to be mindful of your needs. What’s your favorite lunch break activity?

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