Taking a lunch break is important. It’s a time when you can step away from your computer and have a little “me” time. Your lunch break should be a time when you can unplug and stop thinking about work so you can reenergize to make it through the rest of the day. Unfortunately, many of us are guilty of working through our lunch breaks and some of us even skip lunch entirely, which is not healthy.
To help inspire you to do something better with your lunch break, we’ve compiled this list of seven ways to take advantage of this time:
1. Work on a side project
What are you passionate about? Your lunch break is a great time to give your cooking blog some love, or maybe work on your poetry. Find whatever it is that excites you and then throw yourself into it just for fun. But make sure it’s something that helps you relieve stress, not create more of it.
2. Catch up with a friend or loved one
We often get so caught up in the day to day, we forget what – or, more importantly, who – really matters. Use your lunch break to catch up with a family member or friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Not only will it make their day a little brighter, but you’ll likely come back from lunch a little extra pep yourself.
3. Have lunch with the most interesting or inspiring person in your company
No matter how experienced you are, you can still learn a lot from other people. Ask them what their day-to-day responsibilities are, how they stay organized, what they do to stay motivated and what they most enjoy outside of work. Not only could you learn something that you could apply to your own work, but you could gain a friend in the process.
For executives and business owners, taking the time to learn about their employees have made a tremendous impact on their bottom lines. You may be surprised what you learn. You could find out about issues or inefficiencies in your company that you didn’t know existed, and then take action to remediate them.
4. Get outside
Weather permitting, go eat lunch outside. Post up on a park bench and read a book, or ask a coworker to toss the ol’ pigskin around. Depending on how much time you have, you could also go for a walk or a bike ride. Research has shown that taking a break in nature can do wonders to lower your stress levels and improve your mood, and being active outdoors is extra beneficial.
5. Learn something new
Is there something you’ve been wanting to learn, but just haven’t found the time? Maybe it’s a new language, Parcheesi, or a professional skill that could help in your career. Why not use your lunch break to finally learn? You may not master the trade in just one lunch-break-long session, but seeing your improvement from day to day will be very much worth the commitment.
Meditating has been shown to improve concentration and relieve a lot of stress that builds up throughout the workday. It’s also the quickest and safest way to get rid of pressing anxiety and keep the mind far away from depressive thoughts. Although, if you want to see concrete changes in your stress levels, you have to make meditation a habit and check in with your introspective self at least once every day. This why meditation is such a perfect practice for a new lunch-time routine. Learn how to meditate here.
7. Challenge your neighboring office to a competition
Did you know that having fun at work actually boosts your productivity and creativity? The more fun you have, the more energized, positive, and self-assured you become in your immediate environment. When you apply that notion to your projects and work ethic, there is nothing that can get in the way between you and your success. Take our advice and challenge the office next door to a friendly office chair race or a game of soccer, ping pong, pool, foosball, capture the flag or cornhole!
Are you ready to carpe prandium*?
*Latin for “seize lunch” (See, you learned something new already!)
Take advantage of your lunch period and practice some of the activities on this list. You’ll be surprised at how refreshing your mid-day break can be.