Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lunch break done right



For many people the idea of a lunch break is a quick sandwich eaten in front of the computer, while they catch up on a backlog of email correspondence. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. Studies have shown that people who take a short lunch break are happier and often more productive, using the break as a reward for work done well. It can also give you perspective on a difficult problem and offer a vital recharge to get on with the rest of your day. And you could have a lot of fun to boot.


Here are some fun ideas to make the most out of your lunch break.


Start a lunch-time walking club


Why not round up a few colleagues and start a walking club during your lunch break? Good companionship combined with the release of feel-good endorphins during exercise can go a long way in boosting your mood. A stroll around your office neighbourhood or even just your office building a few times can give you this much needed boost.


Learn a language


Always wanted to learn a new language but just never seem able to find the time? Your lunch break is a great opportunity to try. You could make real headway in learning a new language by devoting a few lunch breaks a week to studying. Try playing language CDs on a portable player or downloading them to your MP3 player which you could listen to in a nearby park or while enjoying your lunch on a bench in your office building. 


Explore your surroundings


So often we get stuck in a cycle that includes work and home with very few stops in between. By using your lunch break as a means to explore your office neighbourhood, you could go on a mini adventure. Are there any great art galleries, book stores, or local museums you could visit? Your lunch break could be a wonderful opportunity to explore these.


Read a book


Ever wanted to finally read War and Peace? Or some other literary classic that you’ve just never gotten around to? Perhaps you’d simply like to start reading more.  A lunch break of 30 minutes to an hour is great for tackling a book you’ve always wanted to start and is a great way to schedule some reading time. You may be surprised at just how much you get through in the following weeks.


Listen to an audio book


There’s a particular enjoyment to listening to an audio book, whether it’s because the speaker brings the story to life in a gripping novel or helps to put something into perspective in a helpful guide. The great thing about listening to an audio book is that you can do it anywhere – from the front seat of your car or if you’ve downloaded one to your MP3 player you could listen to it while you take a walk, sit in a park, or while you soak up some sunshine outside.


Play a game


It’s not just children who benefit from play. Make work more fun by playing a board game with your colleagues or why not try a round of office soccer or cricket, depending on your workplace culture and environment and whether it would be appropriate. Studies have shown that playing games can make you more productive. Solitary games can also be fun and good for the mind, so try a crossword puzzle or Sudoku. 


Pamper yourself


Your lunch break can be a great way to indulge in a little TLC, from a short massage, manicure, pedicure, to a quick haircut. Haven’t got the budget? Why not take yourself out for a slice of cake with a friend at a nearby coffee or tea shop. A little indulgence every now and then can be a great happiness booster.


Try yoga or Pilates


Never have time to exercise? Your lunch break could be just the ticket. Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi are great ways to tone up without the fuss of an intense cardio workout. If you have a nearby studio, it may be worthwhile looking in to whether they offer weekly lunch break sessions. Some studios also offer corporate classes, where instructors come to your office and have a session in a boardroom – depending on whether it would be appropriate in your office.


Take a nap


A quick power nap can help you to feel recharged. Even just closing your eyes while being somewhere quiet can help you unwind. Depending on your environment, you could go for a quick nap in your car or a nearby park (so long as it’s safe to do so). Alternatively, if you have a friend who lives nearby you could always ask them if they wouldn’t mind loaning you their couch for a cat nap. 


Have a picnic


Whether you simply take a sandwich and a cold drink or go all out with a fabulous feast, taking your lunch outside does wonders for your mood. Why not try getting a few colleagues together and asking each one to bring a different item of food? Even as a solo affair, a picnic can be a great way to spend your lunch break.


Go out for lunch


Visiting a restaurant or coffee shop with a friend, a colleague, or even by yourself can be a wonderful treat. Try a nearby coffee shop you’ve always wanted to visit or a restaurant nearby that you may have heard good things about. Another great idea is to start a monthly lunch club with a friend or colleague, where you try out different coffee shops, restaurants, or even tea shops in your area.


While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, there’s no reason why lunch can’t be the most fun. And with these great ideas, you’ll be well on your way to adding more fun to your work day.