Congratulations – you’ve made it as far as lunch time. Ask yourself this: Did you make the most of your lunch break today? According to a recent study by BUPA, nearly 70% of UK employees don’t take a proper break at lunch, with over 6 million people not even leaving their desk. Taking some time out in the middle of the working day has been proven to significantly increase productivity, so stop speed-scrolling through the Daily Mail, with your phone wedged between your cheek and your shoulder, absentmindedly scoffing down a Sausage, Bacon and Egg triple and do your wellbeing a favour. Today we’ll be looking at some creative ways to reclaim and re-energise your day by utilising this midday recess.
Get away from your work space
In addition to the vast array of physical health issues potentially caused by spending lunch at your desk, the lack of variety to your working day doesn’t give your mind a chance to relax and recharge. Problems associated with prolonged periods of time sat at a desk can include dry eyes, back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Getting some fresh air during the day not only helps to clear your head but can realign your squished joints and give your eyes a much-needed rest from the glare of a screen. Don’t fester away in your swivel chair, staring longingly out the window - step away from the keyboard and enjoy the great outdoors!
Eat good food and actually enjoy it
A whole wealth of tips and tricks for creating (or buying!) delicious lunches, specifically aimed at utilising slow-release energy can be found online. Trade in that ready meal for whole grains, loads of vegetables and healthy proteins to help you avoid that mid-afternoon slump. Take the time to focus on your food – it’s been scientifically proven that eating whilst distracted by work, your phone or computer screen can lead to feeling less full which in turn means you’ll eat more than your stomach can dynamically process. Skipping lunch to get more work done will earn you nothing more than an irritable headache by mid-afternoon.
Create a sanctuary for relaxing and recuperating during your lunch – fresh air, sunlight, peaceful music or whatever floats your tranquility boat in order to switch off for a few moments and give your mind a break. A quick session of meditation works for some people, whilst others might benefits from a visit to “Do Nothing For 2 Minutes”.
Network and Reconnect
Lunch time is a great opportunity to catch up with people in your network that might not have any other free time, particularly in the Recruitment Industry. By scheduling a lunch with a contact, you’ll be adding value to your working relationships whilst enjoying a proper break from your desk. Equally, why not take some time to enjoy lunch with your colleagues – office lunch clubs are proving to be an increasingly popular way to network within a business at the same time as unwinding. Socialising at lunch is one of the simplest ways to improve your work-life balance.
Book in a fitness class or head to the gym
The benefits of incorporating exercise into your daily routine are no secret, but in case you’ve been living in a cave these past few years - fitting a work-out into the day will help to boost energy and get your blood pumping. Gyms are pretty wise to the lunch-time rush, so look out for short classes in the middle of the day. If you can’t make it to gym, take a stroll to get your muscles moving, or (space permitting obviously) do some stretching and cardio in the office!
NB. Fear not, January is an inaccurate portrayal of how busy the gym will be during lunch for the rest of the year, most people have given up by February.
Learn something new
Stretch your mind by picking up a new skill. In my previous post about how to “Reclaim your commute” I discussed various apps you can use to learn a language or train your brain. Something as simple as Sudoku or a crossword will kick-start your cognitive function after a morning of fighting fires, fending off emails and keeping the peace in your office. This midday chunk of time is perfect for doing the things you’ve been promising you’ll get round to since you left school - teach yourself to draw, visit a gallery or go to a site like Udemy.com and find your latest fascination.
In conclusion – make sure you use your lunch break to the best of your ability! Whether you squeeze in some bicep curls or simply close your eyes and dream for a while, take advantage of this midday window of you-time. Let us know how you get on and if you see a difference in your day.
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