It’s 12:45 p.m. and you’ve worn out the refresh button on your email. It’s probably time to take a lunch break! Though most of us find time to scrounge up a sandwich and a cup of coffee in our allotted hour, we often spend the rest of the day waiting for the caffeine to kick in before we see 5 p.m. roll around, but with these handy tips below, you can now turn off the automatic timer on the coffee pot and take an actual lunch break that will boost your energy and productivity, naturally.
It’s Time to Make Time:
In order to maximize your lunch break, you must first take a break. The key is to actually schedule a time in your calendar to eat and refresh. If you set a time at the beginning of the day, you will be less likely to forego lunch when you get hit with an impromptu meeting or project. Skipping meals to be more productive will actually have the opposite effect. Not eating for several hours will cause your glucose levels to drop, which gives the body nothing to convert to fuel and leaves the brain running on empty.
Unchain the Desk:
Pulling some left over oyster crackers from your side drawer and snacking while continuing to research does not constitute a lunch break, nor will it help you concentrate when you hit afternoon crunch time. Around 2/3 of all workers eat at their desks or skip lunch all together. This makes you more likely to snack all day on sugary, high fat foods that provide a quick spike in energy, but ultimately leave you unsatisfied and lethargic throughout the day.
Step Away from the Screens:
Stepping out of your office and away from your computer to eat will help stimulate new thoughts through a change of scenery. But in the age of smart phones, most of us have our computer by our side at all times. We are constantly stimulated and straining our eyes to see small images on a screen. This sensory overflow can cause headaches, lack of concentration and a shorter attention span. In order to actually feel the effects of a break, try to resist the urge to surf the internet or check social media during lunch, this will allow your system to recharge and you’ll return to work more alert.
Get Physical & Get Outdoors:
We know getting to the gym during your lunch break can be daunting, so it’s a good thing taking a walk outside not only has the same effect, but is actually more beneficial. Walking increases creativity, and a walk in the park can reduce stress, improve concentration and encourage a positive attitude. The scent of flowers and foliage has a calming effect and being surrounded by Mother Nature allows you to feel an innate sense of protection and therefore relaxation—and you get a nice dose of Vitamin D, which will help lift your spirits. A 20-minute walk is even said to provide the energy equivalent to a cup of coffee! Summer won’t be here forever, so make the most of it while you can!