It’s time you spend that precious hour on yourself. You’ll be amazed at the benefits.
If your lunch plans fall anywhere along the lines of “more work” or “eating at my desk”, you may not be using your time to its full potential—and you may not be alone. A Bupa survey done last year found that two-thirds of British employees aren’t actually taking a break over lunch, and some aren’t eating at all. Count yourself among these? You may be at risk for increased stress, decreased productivity, and damage to your health. Step away from your pile of projects and improve your lunch break experience with our seven ways to spend that afternoon hour.
If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times—we should all get more exercise, especially those of us who hold desk jobs. It’s easier said than done. Desk-bound office workers tend to take fewer than 5,000 steps daily, well below the amount it takes to be considered active and healthy. One way to counter a sedentary day at the desk is to use your lunch hour to get some exercise. Up your step count by going for a short run, taking a fitness class, or hitting the gym—then refuel while you work.
As former U.S. President Harry S. Truman once said, ‘Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.’ If you’re working toward promotion to a leadership role, spending an hour every afternoon in the pages of a good book may be one way to achieve it. Your choice of reading material is completely up to you. Pick a novel to give yourself a mental break from the stress of the workday or a personal development title to learn more about how you can excel in company roles and make use of current industry developments.
Cubicle culture can make for a long, lonely workday. If you’re looking to make a change, try asking a co-worker for lunch. It can be as simple as sandwiches in the canteen or a meal out at a local café—either way, an hour of chatting with an office-mate can go a long way towards promoting a positive workplace atmosphere. At the very least it’s a better use of an hour than watching cat videos on your phone—by yourself.
We mentioned it in our article about the 9 things successful people do every day—having a personal project or hobby, like writing a book, restoring old cars, or collecting antiques is an important part of staying productive and successful. Dedicate your lunch hour to pursuing your passions; for example, you could use your lunch break to write a few more pages, research hard-to-find parts, or browse online shops. By breaking up the workday with an hour of something you enjoy, you’ll increase your productivity and creativity as well as improve your mood. It’s a win for your company and spells success for you.
If you really want to impress us, you know what to do—use your lunch break to take an online course.
Again, this is along the lines of our first point—but going for a walk has benefits a run or gym session can’t claim. Not only does walking burn calories and boost your metabolism, but it can also improve your mood and decrease stress. There are lots of ways to make this a part of your midday routine. Joining (or starting—see point 3) a walking club at your office, downloading a walking app, and creating the perfect walking playlist are a few great ways to get outdoors and moving when noon rolls around.
We’ll admit, there are some days when all we can think about is going somewhere warm, sunny, and care-free—especially when the weather is keeping us indoors or a deadline has us stressed out. When a bad mood strikes, try spending your free hour planning a holiday. Open up an Excel sheet and make a detailed calendar, list, or budget for a few days in the paradise of your choice—not only will looking at pictures of pristine beaches and reading restaurant reviews take your mind off any stress you’re under, but the promise of a holiday will give you something to look forward to the next time you’re feeling blue.
Have a look at some more of our Tips and Guides for more advice and inspiration.