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21 Feb 2019
In Britain we’re good at a lot of things – drinking tea, queuing up for anything and everything, fish and chips – but one thing we’re not great at? Taking our lunch breaks.
Brits take the shortest lunch breaks in Europe, with 42% of people saying they rarely or only occasionally take a lunch break.
Taking a lunch break might feel counterproductive if you’ve got a busy day, but taking some time away from your desk is actually a necessity for a productive afternoon. Creativity and innovation get a boost when you change environments, and giving yourself a chance to recharge at lunchtime is a great way to refocus in the afternoon.
So, don’t just eat a sandwich at your desk -here are some great ways to get more from your lunch break, whether it’s taking a 10-minute breather or making the most of a full hour…
Less than 15 minutes to spare?
Get away from your desk
We all know the damage that sitting down all day can do to us – with headlines like ‘sitting is the new smoking’ filling up our newsfeeds.
But if you’ve got a desk job, it’s not exactly easy to avoid sitting down all day, unless you have the luxury of a standing desk!
Lunchtime is a great opportunity to get up from your desk to get some fresh air and stretch your legs – a little walk is better than none at all!
The Calm app has meditations of various lengths to help you recharge and refocus, so even if you only have 3 minutes to spare, you can still get some space away from your desk and give yourself a chance to clear your head.
Even if you can’t get a proper break, just quarter of an hour away from your electronics will give your eyes a good rest from looking at a screen.
15 minutes might not seem like a long time but if you can read 15 pages a day during your lunch break, you could finish a book in less than a month!I There are few better feeelings than getting caught up in the plot of a good book and knowing that you've set aside 15 minutes every day to immerse yourself in another world can be exciting. If you prefer to get your literary fix another way, Audible has a fantastic selection of audio books to download, including bestselling fiction and non-fiction options. Check them out with a free 30-day trial.
Need an inspiration boost? There are thousands of talks in the TED library so there’s bound to be something you’rein, or work through the list of most inspiring TED talks?
Whether it’s a blog, newsletter or journal, your lunch break is a great opportunity to squeeze in some writing! Even if you’re just writing a stream of consciousness, it’s a great way to get everything out of your brain and help you to problem solve. Writing has loads of benefits, from helping with your analytical skills to clearing your head, even if nobody ever reads it!
If you’ve got a passion you love to spend your weekends and evenings working on, why not use your lunchtime to enjoy it? If it’s something you can easily take on-the-go like knitting or cross stitch, your lunch break is a great time to dive back in. Into mountain climbing, go karting or bungee jumping? Use the time to read up on your passion.
Desk yoga exists, but it might not be as surreptitious as you might like in front of your colleagues. If you can get yourself a quiet room and plenty of space, rolling out your yoga mat is a great idea to set yourself up for a relaxing afternoon. There are hundreds of free videos on YouTube.
Your lunch break is a great opportunity to check off those annoying, niggly things on your to-do list you never get chance to do at the weekends, like trips to the Post Office or even that pesky dentist appointment you’ve been putting off.
If you really struggle to fit a workout into your day, then a lunch time sweat session might be perfect for your schedule. Not only will you free up your evenings and mornings, you’ll release loads of feel-good endorphins, too. Perfect to set you up for a great afternoon!
Always find yourself talking shop with your colleagues? Going out for lunch is a great opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level, plus it gives you a great chance to get out of the office, get into a new environment and ensure you get something substantial for lunch.
Many museums and libraries offer lunchtime talks lasting between 20-45 minutes. These are opportunities to learn more about specific exhibits, hear from curators and guest speakers and immerse yourself in a little casual culture before heading back to work.
The latest and greatest releases on Netflix have become the topic of many office conversations. But what happens if you dozed off the night before and now you're an episode behind your work colleagues? If you get an hour for lunch you have enough time to catch up so that you can join in with your own theories about the latest true crime documentary.
Okay, it’s not always possible, but there are a whole host of benefits from a midday nap if you get a chance to squeeze one in! A lunchtime nap boosts your memory, improves alertness and willpower. So, if you can get a quiet room for some zzzs, it’s a great idea!