Some days, you’re too busy to eat lunch, and even when you do get a chance to eat, you don’t always get a break to do it in. If you generally wind up eating at your desk, sandwich in one hand while you type emails with the other, it’s time to change your ways. Reserve a little time for a real lunch, and you’ll be healthier, happier, and more productive.
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Here are some ideas to help you maximize your lunch break and head into the afternoon feeling energized, positive, and refreshed.
1. Make good choices about what you eat.
These days, we all know that the food we eat impacts the way we feel. Taking time to determine what you’re going to have for lunch in advance, rather than scrambling to find something on your way out the door in the morning or ordering out when the time comes, will help you make good choices. Some foods will make you feel like you’re dragging, while others will leave you energized. Remember that what you eat affects your productivity, and take the time to prepare the right lunch for yourself the night before.
2. The more, the merrier.
If possible, eat lunch with friends — or at least, friendly co-workers. Spending a few minutes with people you genuinely enjoy can help you separate from the stresses of work in a way that will allow you to return feeling refreshed after your break. Amanda Enayati of CNN recently interviewed Ben Waber, a research scientist and CEO of Sociometric Solutions about his study regarding what makes workers happy. Waber observed workers who sat at different-sized tables at lunch, and discovered some fascinating links between the size of one’s network of peers in the workplace and their overall happiness.
“We found that the people who sat at the larger tables had substantially higher performance,” says Waber.
Larger networks created opportunities to share problems and get support and answers to questions.
3. Get out for a minute, if you can.
Whether it’s a five-minute drive around the block, or just a minute at a picnic table across the street with a co-worker and friend, getting away from the physical work space could help you disconnect for a few minutes. This should make it easier to reconnect with your professional self and responsibilities when you get back in the building.
4. Even better yet, get a little exercise.
A quick stroll around the neighborhood, even if you’re only outside for a few minutes, can help you shake off the first part of the day and head into the second half feeling strong and happy. It can be difficult to find the time for a long walk, but enjoying some fresh air for even just a few minutes will provide a nice rest and change of pace.
5. Take a minute to do something nice for someone in your personal life
Engaging with home during the workday often slows productivity and engagement, but during your lunch break, it can be helpful to do something positive that helps you feel excited about your life outside of work. A quick text to your partner saying you can’t wait to see them later, or an email to your sister telling her you’re proud of her for a recent accomplishment, could put a smile on your face that helps you get through the afternoon — and it wouldn’t hurt your personal life either.
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