Don’t skip on lunch breaks because it is a very important part of every workday. You can use the time to recharge or even to work on personal projects that don’t concern your job at all. It doesn’t matter where you work, be it in the office or at home, you should step away from your workspace and do activities that will put your mind and body in a relaxed disposition.
After your lunch break, you’ll return to your workspace with renewed energy and a refreshed mindset to help you power through the rest of the workday.
Of course, you’ll be using the first few minutes of your lunch break to finish your meal. Afterward, you can dedicate some time to doing personal errands or a relaxing activity such as meditation or walking to the nearby park for a breath of fresh air. Trust us; it will do wonders to your energy until it’s time to clock out of work. You will be more optimistic and energized to finish all of your tasks, or at least prepare them for the next workday. Remember, your lunch break doesn’t have to be “productive,” you just really have to use it as a real midday break from your work.
We listed down some suggestions on how you can put your lunch break to good use.
1. Go outdoors
Since you work at your desk for 8 hours, good use of your lunch break would be to spend some time outdoors. Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air to boost your energy and give you a clear headspace. You could ask a colleague to eat with you outside or walk around your office compound. When you return to work, you will be in a better mood to go through the rest of the day.
2. Bond with your peers at work.
The workplace is where you could meet your best friends in this phase of your life. Use your lunch break to bond with them. You could eat together at the pantry and talk about light topics outside of work or something about work that excites all of you. When you have a good relationship with your colleagues outside of work, it will be easier to work with them on projects. You will be more comfortable working or just being around one another, making work more fun and less stressful.
If you’re feeling stressed from work and want to re-energize for the next few hours before you can clock out, a brilliant idea to do during your lunch break is to work out. You can finish a quick high-intensity interval training, yoga stretching session, or do a quick run in the neighborhood before you relax a bit and sit down for a healthy meal. People often exercise before or after work but if you do it during lunch break, you save time from exercising during those hours, time that you could use for other tasks.
4. Meditate and breathe deeply.
Use the time to calm down your thoughts. Look for a space that is quiet and free for you to relax and think in silence. If you’re in the office, it can be your car or a conference room that’s not being used. If you’re at home, go to an empty room and lock the door. Follow breathing exercises or do your own to release the tension in your body. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. This practice will hopefully clear your mind of negativity and allow you to be focused on your tasks when you finish the next few hours of work. The new energy, optimism, and relaxed disposition can help you go through complicated tasks in the afternoon.
5. Jot down a journal entry.
A lot of therapists will advise you to keep a journal when you’re going through stress. It can help you have an understanding of what you’re feeling at the moment, especially if the emotions are getting overwhelming and are consuming your soul. Note what has happened to your day thus far and think about how these are affecting you at the moment. What are you currently feeling? What caused you to feel that way? What can you do to feel better? If you want to deviate from the stress, then you can use journal prompts to guide you on what to write down.
6. Plan your schedule for the rest of the week.
Maybe you’re a Class A type of person or you just want to manage your time wisely. You may use your lunch break to schedule activities for your day or the whole week. What do you want and need to finish this week? What important tasks have you yet to accomplish? Will you be meeting friends or going out on a date? Will you be hosting your parents on the weekend? The list goes on and on—something you can start on a Monday and build up on every lunch break. Update what you have already done and are yet to do. Your priorities might have changed as well so you can take these into account too. It will prepare you for the whole week ahead and you won’t be lost with what you have to do.
7. Read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a podcast.
Nourish your mind and take a break from work at the same time by picking up a book to read. We recommend having a printed one with you instead of reading from your phone or a tablet, minimizing distractions. It will remove workplace issues in your head for a while and nourish your mind with new knowledge. Well, you can also read career guides or life advice on how you can chase happiness. Or if you fancy fiction books, that’s also a nice genre to sink into and give you entertainment before you have to work again.
Other ways you can entertain and educate yourself are to listen to a podcast or watch a movie, vlog, or documentary. You can do this comfortably by having a monitor mount to configure your desktop at a position comfortable for you to watch entertainment.
8. Do personal errands
You can make your lunch productive but not work-related by doing personal chores. You can buy your grocery list, go to the doctor for your appointment, pay your bills, do your laundry, or clean your workspace. Again, since you’ve already done it during lunch break, you wouldn’t need extra time to complete these tasks before or after your work hours.