How to Make the Most of Your Lunch Hour
If you’re one of the many who simply cannot seem to make time to get away from the office for a decent lunch break – and by decent, we mean at least an hour of uninterrupted, no-work time; no having your boss chase you down “because it’s really important and can’t wait” – we want you to change your habits.
All sorts of tests have shown that working in a steady rhythm, in continual concentration on a set task, distorts your ability to make sound judgments.
The amount of time that you can go without a break varies, but on average, if you are sitting or standing for more than 20 minutes, you ought to stop and shift gears.
Stay Healthy By Taking Breaks
Did you know that a blood clot can form in your legs, and perhaps travel to your lungs, if you sit for too long? Sitting for great periods of time has been shown in medical studies to cause pulmonary embolisms. Clearly we were not designed to be stationery for long periods of time!
Get up, stretch your legs, re-focus your eyes…do whatever it takes.
Your productivity will be much improved, you’ll be better able to perform your job, and, without a doubt, you will be in a much more affable mood. Don’t run the risk of letting the very real stress of working in an uninterrupted manner takes its physical and mental toll on you!
Give Yourself a Real Lunch Hour
Additionally, you need to take an hour of lunch.
Midday, your stomach starts to growl and you need to refuel. More important, recharging by engaging in some new activity is a must.
Taking an entire hour will bring you back to your senses, as it were, as well as return you to your cubicle, office or work station with a fresh new outlook.
Your motivation and zeal will be renewed, and you’ll avoid developing the aforementioned blood clots…as well as a few other malaises which science has deemed directly attributable to those who are not very mobile (or who sit excessively).
These include: obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
So it’s evident that your overall health will be impinged if you try to catch up on work by grabbing a sandwich.
What Are You Going To Do With Your Lunch Hour?
OK, now that we’ve determined that’s it’s a productive and healthy concept to take a lunch break, what, exactly do you wish to do with it?
If you just can’t seem to get excited about the idea of joining a co-worker or two in the cafeteria or at a local eatery, and you don’t relish walking around outside for an hour, what’s left to do?
Here are some ideas for revving up your lunch break – as well as your brain and body.
- Bring your favorite music to listen to, with ear buds, on your mobile device and saunter vigorously outside – pump those arms! – for a half hour. Cool down, and then pick up something healthy in your company’s lunch room. If your company doesn’t have a lunch room, help yourself to salmon and salad, say, at a local restaurant where you’ll know there’s usually not much of a line. Even if you have to stand in a queue for 5 minutes, you’ll still have an entire 25 minutes to eat your lunch, pay…and wash up a bit before resuming your work tasks.
Yes, we said “wash up a bit”. What that entails is your dabbing at yourself under your armpits and wherever else you’ve accumulated a healthy sweat. Carry a bit of baking soda and sprinkle a bit under your armpits. As you know, baking soda absorbs odor, and is perfectly safe to apply in this manner. If your skin is sensitive, consider mixing it with coconut oil or cornstarch.
That bit of hygiene only takes a full two minutes and can be accomplished at the company restroom washstand. You might wish to wait until you have the bathroom to yourself, in case you have to remove your shirt to accomplish this little routine.
- If you don’t wish to stretch your legs by walking around the block for half an hour, or if you are building up to walking briskly for that length of time, walk for 15 minutes – and, again, pump your arms, so that you add that necessary bit of aerobic activity—and sit on a comfortable bench in the sunshine. You’ll absorb lots of valuable Vitamin D, which boosts your immune system…and you’ll enjoy watching all the activity going on around you. Most lunch times in a corporate environment entail people coming and going; dogs being walked; bicycle riding; moms pushing baby carriages, etc.
Or bring a fascinating book. You can also pop an e-book into your mobile device, and enjoy the show around you while you’re enjoying a good “read”.
- Think back to all of those times that you’ve been at work and have been momentarily distracted by thoughts of one or two errands that you would have loved to have been able to run. Well, jot down all of the “must do’s” and do ‘em! There’s no time like the present…take advantage of an entire hour when you’re at liberty to drive, walk, jog or pedal and pay bills; make or change appointments; pick up light groceries; drop off items to be repaired; run to the post office, and perhaps resolve a dilemma or two on the phone. (Just don’t sit at your desk to do it.)
You’ll be thrilled with all the time you save; your free hours on the weekend will add up and will be more meaningful and relaxing. You will be able to do stuff that you LIKE to do on Saturdays and Sundays…and not only what you NEED to do.
- Successful folks have been known to catch a few z’s at lunch. Perhaps you, too, will find that a brief snooze in your company’s allotted “quiet or nap” space will become your favorite lunch-time activity. Don’t have a “quiet or nap” room? Why not dim the lights and close the door to your office? Or head to your car for some nap time. This will result in some serious head-clearing and major attitude adjustment.
- Did you ever think of the difference that even forty-five minutes of volunteering as a Big Brother or a Big Sister can make in a disadvantaged young person’s life? It wouldn’t require a large investment on your part, and can be accomplished once a week. Too, you might check out your local soup kitchen. Perhaps they need someone to help serve, set up trays or make sandwiches. Whatever you can do, you’re sure to feel appreciated…and nothing beats the look in a person’s eyes when you’ve touched them deeply in the most basic of manners…by giving of yourself.
There are some ideas to get you started; now go take lunch!