When deadlines are creeping up, and your schedule is full, taking a break might be low on your priority list. However, taking your allocated lunch is very important to ensure you can refuel and avoid burnout. No matter the length of time you take away from the desk, we are here to share our tips on how to maximise your lunch break.
Fuel your body
The main purpose of having a lunch break is – of course – to have your lunch. Use your break as an opportunity to fuel your body in the best way. Focus on eating a balanced, energy fuelling meal.
Hunger can cause lower productivity and bad moods. Eating snacks and meals during the workday that will provide you with natural energy is a great way to maintain work momentum. Eating unhealthy foods such as fast foods can create a spike followed by a later crash in energy levels, so being conscious of the way you’re fuelling your body is crucial. Some examples of healthy, energising snacks include Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts and dried fruits or even a protein bar.
Stepping away from your workspace is essential to fully relax and make the most of your break. It’s important to be mindful of how you are spending your time. Removing distractions is a great place to start. This includes muting notifications on your phone and leaving your computer or tablet in your workspace. Being mindful of your actions during your break is important, as you may find yourself checking your emails or task list whilst off the clock. Making a conscious effort to stay away from work will set you up for success.
Another way to be mindful on your break is to eat mindfully. If you are struggling to think of a way to spend your break, you cannot go wrong with mindful eating. Mindful eating is very simple. In fact, it involves doing nothing but eating! This way of eating encourages relaxation and calms your mind as you fill your belly as are able to fully appreciate the food you are consuming. Eating mindfully does wonders for your digestion as well. In order to make the most of this phenomenon, put away distractions. This includes putting your phone away, turning off the tv and doing nothing but eat.
Leave your workspace
Whether you are working from home or the office, we recommend changing up your location for lunch. Whether you are moving to your lounge room at home or a different area in your office, physically getting up and moving allows your brain to recognise it’s time for a break. Eating your lunch at your desk is a big no-no! If you have the opportunity (and time) to leave your place of work, that’s a great option too. Going for a walk around the home or the office is a simple way to get outside and get some fresh air without getting in the car. This works for those who have a shorter break; a short walk will do wonders!
If you work in a large office, chances are other staff members will also be taking their break at the same time as you. Take this as an opportunity to get to know those you work with without it being work-related. Asking a team member if they want to get a coffee with you is a simple way to start.
If you are working from home by yourself, it doesn’t mean you can’t socialise. Setting up a time to call a friend or family member is a great way to spend your lunch break. Not only does this take your mind completely off work, but it also gives you an opportunity to have a laugh and catch up.
Stretch it out
More often than not, office workers need a good stretch. Sitting at your desk all day long is not natural. Therefore, a mid-day stretch is a good way to keep your body feeling good. Stretching in the office can be simple and doesn’t need to take long to achieve the benefits. Setting a reminder on your phone is a great way to stay on track to ensure you stretch daily on your break. Moving your body releases endorphins which can help your concentration, so before your break is up, get moving to ensure your return to work is seamless and focused.
Journal your thoughts
Often, in the middle of your workday, you feel stressed. Whether you haven’t been as productive as you wished or have a lot to get through before the day, journaling is an effective way to reduce stress. Journaling improves clarity within the mind; therefore, it is a wonderful way to reset the brain. When achieving a clearer state of mind, tasks may appear less daunting, and your to-do list may seem more doable. Journaling can assist in realising emotions also. Therefore, you may feel better mentally when approaching work.
Get some rest
Getting a small amount of rest may be your answer to surviving the day. Whether this involves a power nap or some time away from everyone else in the team, it is an effective solution. Working from home enables a comfortable space to rest in – just don’t forget to set an alarm! However, if you are in the office, it is okay to spend some quiet time alone. This can be just as effective as having a nap.
If you face guilt for taking your lunch break when you are having a crazy day, spend your break being productive in a non-work-related way. Examples of this include running errands or ticking things off your to-do list. This may involve popping to the chemist to pick up a prescription or sewing the button back on your old shirt. Although you aren’t working, you can still achieve a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which may result in feeling less guilt.
Whether your break is 15 minutes or an hour, taking time to refuel and move is essential to make it through the day. Breaking out of routine is a simple way to feel as though you have truly stepped out of work mode, even if it is for a short period of time. It is important to remember that not every lunch break should be spent the same. Switching up the way you spend your break each day will welcome a sense of freshness to your day.