Let’s face it. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. When you’re at work, you may be tempted to skip your lunch break in order to get a few extra things done. But research has shown that skipping your break isn’t healthy and may actually decrease your overall productivity. Here are some ways to unplug from your workday and make the most of your lunch break.
Basics of a Productive Lunch Break
Rules of thumb for planning your break:
- Plan. Simply knowing that you have time set aside for a break will make you more productive.
- A Short break is better than no break at all. Give your brain a rest! Even short breaks increase creativity and productivity.
- A fully detached break is better than a semi-detached break. Try not to check your email at lunch, or talk about projects in the break room.
- Moving is better than staying in one place. Stretch your legs, take a walk, or do some stretches. Get your blood flowing
- Being outside is better than being inside. Studies have found that sunlight and fresh air increase productivity and improve sleep. Take a minute to step outside and soak in some sun.
- Most importantly, do something that you enjoy! Using your lunch break to solve a Rubik’s cube is pointless if you don’t like puzzles.
Five Ways to Take Advantage of Your Lunch Break
1. Give your body the right fuel.
Whatever else you do, make sure to actually eat on your lunch break. Yes, “lunch” is in the name, but you’d be surprised at the things people prioritize over eating. Bottom line—a good meal is vital for staying energized and productive for the day.
Foods high in protein will give you energy for a longer period of time. Make your brain happy with antioxidant-rich foods. Berries, walnuts, and dark chocolate are all antioxidant superfoods. You don’t even have to eat these things during lunch. Grab a trail mix with dried fruit, or try some mixed nuts for smart snacking.
2. Go for a walk (or other light exercise).
Simply getting your blood flowing will increase productivity. A study from the American Psychology Association found that just taking a walk increased 81% of the participants’ creativity. Running errands is also a great way to get away from your workspace and be outside for a few minutes.
3. Give your brain a break too.
Disconnect from work by giving your brain something else to think about. Listen to your favorite music, read a book, or put on a podcast. If you’re ambitious, try giving your brain a challenge with:
Tip: listening to certain kinds of music while working can also increase productivity. According to research, the three best sounds for your brain are: classical music, epic soundtracks, and nature sounds.
4. Connect with another human.
If you’re a people person, sitting at your computer all day can be mentally and emotionally draining. Break up the monotony by meeting a friend for lunch or catching up with co-workers. Connect with people you don’t see everyday. Call your grandma or video chat with long distance family members and friends.
5. Get organized.
Getting organized is a great way to take a mental break. Take a few minutes to clean up your desk or clean out your locker. Flex your artistic muscles by color coding your notes or illustrating your grocery list.
Real Talk: Suggestions for Stress
Let’s face it, stress is an epidemic in the workplace. According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stress on the job, and 25% of people have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress. If you’re in the 80%, here are some stress relieving ways to spend your lunch break.
- Low intensity yoga.
- Meditate (lots of free apps available).
- Stress-relieving music (search for stress relieving music on your favorite streaming service).
- Humor: watch a funny YouTube video or listen to a witty podcast.
- To help with eye and muscle strain:
- Avoid looking down at your computer.
- Keep a reusable rice sack to help with aching muscles.
- For eye strain, practice the 20-20-20 rule. Every twenty minutes, look away from your screen at something at least twenty feet away for at least twenty seconds.
Get More Done with Workbox
Here at Workbox staffing, we’re here to take the stress out of your job search. Our job placement process is simple, personal, and efficient. We match you with a professional recruiter who takes time to get to know you and what kind of job you want. We make finding your next job easy, so you can focus on getting more done.