Career

How To Make The Most Of Your Lunch Break

Are you eating your lunch at your desk right now? Maybe absentmindedly biting into a sandwich, or picking at a salad as you fall down a Daily Mail gossip-vortex? We’ve all been there, catching up on the latest Harry Styles news while our more virtuous colleagues are off making the most of their lunch hour.

It’s hard to work up the motivation to actually do something with your lunch break when you’re spending eight or so hours a day at work. It might seem like the only break from being ‘on’ that you have. But there are loads of things you could be doing to make the most of this hour of free time each day.

It could be something that you would do after work anyway, or even a new side project that you never seem to find the hours for. It’s time to make that 60 minutes in the middle of the day work harder for you.

Exercise

Sitting at a desk all day is not great for your health. Not only can a sedentary lifestyle contribute to obesity, but it also destroys your metabolic health, and can cut out as many minutes of your life as smoking cigarettes.

Take steps to avoid this looming health disaster by getting sweaty during your lunch hour. Hit the gym, take a yoga class or do a lunchtime boot camp.

Don’t feel so much like coming back to work dripping with perspiration? Why not try a little walk — pick a direction and walk for 20 minutes, then turn around and come back. You’ll have racked up 40 minutes of exercise, and still have time to actually eat.

Work on your side hustle

Sure, an hour might not seem like enough time to get much done on your side project. But using an hour every working day to set up a website, do admin, or pump out a 6000-word treatise on global politics for your blog will add up quite quickly.

If your nights are filling up faster than you can say ‘yes I’ll come for after-work drinks tonight’, doing just an hour is much, much better than nothing!

Meditate

How much time do you set aside to meditate a day? This one is especially important if you’re having a stressful day, or are just feeling general life malaise. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve concentration, and even slow down ageing.

Not only will it have an immediate effect, making your stressful job more palatable, but in the long term it can boost happiness and improve your cardiovascular and immune health. All you need is yourself — go find an empty boardroom or toilet to sit in, if you’re not so keen for your colleagues to see you getting your ‘om’ on.

Catch some rays

If you’re anything like the rest of us, you often forget to leave the office during working hours, meaning your exposure to sun is minimal. Lack of vitamin D, which is found in sunlight, can lead to dementia, heart disease and cancer, which is an excellent excuse to head to your nearest park, terrace or street bench and soak up the sunshine.

You only need around two to 14 minutes of sun three to four times a week at midday to ensure you’re receiving enough vitamin D. Which still leaves you with plenty of time to pick up a coffee on your way back to the office!

Meet up with a friend

The beautiful thing about full-time work is that most people get an hour’s lunch break around the same time. Get a mate who works nearby on board and get lunch, have a coffee or even take a walk together.

Regular socialisation can lower risk of depression, make you more productive, and improve concentration, so pick up your little black book and start texting!

Read a book

Struggling to find time to finish War and Peace? Think one of Richard Branson’s books might be just the thing you need to kickstart that business idea you have, but between work and your social life it’s impossible to read?

Solve the perennial time issue by flicking through a book during your lunch break. Get away from your desk (this signals that you’re still working, and you won’t want any interruptions) and find a quiet spot to read, perhaps while drinking a cup of tea.

Run errands

Boring, we know, but the more things you can cross off your to-do list during your lunch break, the more time you’ll have after work for, you know, a life.

Go grocery shopping, post your ASOS returns, pay your electricity bills or even just write a to-do list. This might be slightly more difficult if you don’t work in a city, but the beauty of the internet is that you’ll almost certainly be able to tick some things off your list – like online bill payments, internet banking and online grocery shopping.


Che-Marie is a London-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Australian Gourmet Traveller, Collective Hub and Virgin Australia Voyeur among others. Follow her travels on Instagram @chemariet