Do you stay seated at your desk for just about every lunch break? Is the line between work time and break time increasingly blurred? We’re all guilty of doing that from time to time. It’s a nasty habit though, and not good for you or your productivity. Here are nine ways to have a better lunch break.
- Go for a 20-minute walk. It could be around the block, or choose somewhere further from the office (or home, if you work there) to buy your lunch, and walk it. The trick here is to gain that extra bit of walking into your working week.
- Eat smart. Go for fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid processed food. Eating healthier foods for lunch means less sugar highs and lows, better nutrients and fibre intake, and a better metabolism. See this site for more fruit and vegetable information.
- Have lunch with a friend. We’re all guilty of skipping social contact in favour of more work. Regain some social contact by arranging regular lunch dates with friends–the social contact will do you a world of good, and your friendships will benefit.
- Join a health club. Is there a health club nearby? Even half an hour on a treadmill or exercise bike can boost your fitness, and improve your motivation for the afternoon. If there isn’t a club nearby, consider hiring or buying some basic equipment for the office or home.
- Learn. Download podcasts, print out interesting articles, find a short course you can do nearby for less than an hour. The key here is to stimulate the brain and finish the week with more knowledge than you started with.
- Meditate. Just five or more minutes of silence can not only relax your mind and reduce stress, but it’s also likely to allow you time to solve some other nagging issues as well! You’ll probably have to leave the office for this one, or close your door and take the phone off the hook.
- Swap your coffee for a glass of water. As I’ve already mentioned, water is so good for you. Instead of reaching for the coffee machine, grab a bottle of water and keep it on your desk.
- Read something new. Join a library, buy some new books; whatever you do, get away from that monitor for a while and read a newspaper, book, or magazine. It’ll expand your knowledge and take your mind off your projects for a short period of time, which is a very good thing.
- Get away from your computer. If you must work during this lunch break, stand at a whiteboard or sit in a different place and write on paper. Whatever you do, give your eyes and posture a break and try a different location or activity for a while.
You needn’t start all this at once–try to start incorporating one of these tips into your lunch break every week. Even better, combine a few at once, such as walking while eating an apple, or put headphones on and chill out while reading a book or this week’s Tribune (for example!).
This post first appeared as part of Issue 415 of the SitePoint Tribune, a very popular email newsletter that I was co-editor of. Thanks to SitePoint for allowing me to reproduce the work here.