Ten Healthy Ways to Spend Your Lunch Break
Let us share a typical scenario with you…
After a morning of rushing from meeting to meeting and trying to squeeze in enough time at your desk to get some important work done, you suddenly realise you’re starving. You reach into your bag to pull out the sandwich you bought on the way to work and eat it while catching up with emails. Once it’s gone you take ten minutes to walk to the kettle and make yourself a cup of coffee, sharing a few words with the colleagues you bump into on the way. You stop by the vending machine to treat yourself to a packet of crisps or bar of chocolate, then give yourself fifteen minutes free time to browse Facebook. Then it’s back to work, because you don’t feel you can afford to waste any more time.
Sound familiar? You’re far from alone. A recent Bupa survey found that two thirds of British workers don’t always manage to take even twenty minutes for lunch. This is a worrying trend for two key reasons:
- It’s affecting our productivity
- It’s affecting our health
If you want to feel more focused and energised in the afternoon, taking a proper lunch break is an easy way to do this.
Not sure what you’d do instead of sitting at your desk with a sandwich? Here are ten suggestions from us for healthy ways to spend your lunch break.
1. Eat a nutritious home-prepared meal
If you buy lunch every day, it could be costing you more than you think. Research shows that workers spend more than £2,500 each year on incidentals such as sandwiches, snacks and coffees. Shop bought lunches could also be having a big impact on your health. After all, Which? have found that some shop bought sandwiches contain more calories than burgers and pizza! You can avoid this by preparing your own lunch at home: try packing up leftovers, salads or pitta bread pouches for a tasty lunchtime treat.
2. Go for a walk
The simple act of heading out into the fresh air and getting some exercise can give you a real lift. How you want to take your walk is up to you. You may find an energetic power walk to be really invigorating, but a simple stroll to get some errands done could reap just as great results.
3. Start a club
You may find your colleagues are just as uninspired by their lunch breaks as you are! Why not think about getting together to do something different? A book club, knitting club, running club or yoga club could be a great way to get away from your desk and give yourself some proper downtime. Some employers will even let you use the meeting room over lunch breaks. Why not consider getting in a specialist such as a yoga or pilates teacher to lead the group?
4. Do some window shopping
Want to get some exercise but don’t fancy being out in the cold for too long? If there’s a shopping centre or big department store near your office, you could have a go at window shopping instead. You’ll get all the benefits of stretching your legs while still keeping warm and dry.
5. Fit in a gym session
Do you try to fit in a daily gym session but struggle to find the time? A thirty minute session at lunchtime could work well. Some gyms will even offer specially timed lunchtime classes to help you make the most of your midday break.
6. Read a book
Staring at a screen all day can be incredible waring. Give yourself a break from technology with a reading break. If you can find a quiet corner of the office to sit with your book, that’s excellent. Otherwise, why not head to a local cafe and bag a comfy chair?
7. Take a class
If you feel that you’re wasting your lunch break browsing the web, why not try doing something a little different? Many cities in the UK are catching on to the importance of getting away from your desk for a break. You may find that local training centres and universities are offering special lunchtime classes! Consider this your opportunity to learn something you thought you didn’t have time for.
8. Catch up with a friend
Socialising with loved ones can have huge value. Instead of scrolling through your friend’s social updates, why not make a date to catch up with them instead? Sharing lunch can be a great way to check in with each other during an otherwise busy week.
Mindfulness meditation is gaining huge traction in the UK at the moment. There are even calls for this kind of therapy to be available on the NHS. Get ahead of the curve by practising mindfulness yourself during your lunch break. Headspace and stopbreathethink.org are great places to start.
10. Solve a puzzle
Brain training puzzles such as crosswords and sudoku can have huge benefits. Not only can they be a great way to give your brain a rest from thinking about work, they could also help to improve your memory, help you think faster and get more done.
Have we inspired you to do something a little different during your lunch break in future? We’d love to hear how you get on. Why not tell us all about it on our Facebook page?
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