Having a break in the middle of the working day has been the standard for many centuries. Whether it was farmers toiling in the fields or factory workers from the start of the industrial revolution, the day needed to be broken up to nourish and sustain the hard-working people. Nowadays, even though we take our lunch break for granted, they are shrinking in time and efficiency.
More and more people take shorter lunch breaks, often spending them quickly getting some food down while keeping working. This attitude is not only unhealthy, it also does nothing for your productivity at work.
Here are 5 strategies to employ to increase your overall health and productivity. Regaining your full lunch break will also do wonders for your happiness, as taking a proper break and eating mindfully is linked to improved mental health.
Get out of the office (even if it’s just away from your desk)
Stepping away from your desk is important to freshen your mind. Whether you go for a short walk, run some errands or just visit someone in a different department for a chat, it will do wonders for your productivity. Even just a short time away from your desk can help you think clearer when you sit down again.
Move for a while
Sitting has already been dubbed “the new smoking”, because sitting down for hours on end is detrimental to our bodies. You can use your lunch break to get in some exercise. Whether it’s walking, jogging, attending an exercise class or doing some flexibility exercises or a spot of yoga, every bit of exercise will help your body and brain feel better in the long run.
Bring your own lunches
There are many reasons why bringing your own lunch is a good idea. It will save you money and you control what’s in your food. You can make your own sandwiches, salads or use leftovers from last night’s dinner.
Avoid heavy meals
It is important to avoid heavy, carb-rich meals at lunchtime. Choose fresh veggies, lean proteins and full grain carbs. Limit high sugar, high fat and white carbs such as white bread, potatoes and pasta. You don’t want to end up with the early afternoon slump, where you feel like you could fall asleep around 2pm. This is due to the body trying hard to digest heavy foods or coming down from a sugar high.
Give your mind a break
Try thinking of something completely non-work related during your lunch break. This could be reading a few chapters of your favourite book, practicing mindfulness or meditation or calling/meeting up with a friend. Or you could simply daydream for a while.
All these activities will refresh your mind and help you tap into your creative juices for a productivity boost in the afternoon.
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