In this article, we are going to show that a lunch break is your chance to get more productive, healthy, and happy in life. One way to make such change in your life is to use your time smartly.
Maybe you need to ask yourself if 10 minutes of scrolling through Facebook is really a break?
No. There are better ways of spending your lunch break or any break when you re at work.
We had freelancers and office workers in mind when writing this article, but some ideas will be applicable to just about anyone.
10 Things to Do When You Need a Break at Work
1 – Physical exercise
For all those whose work involves sitting in one place, a small physical exercise will be a game changer. Just getting up and walking to a lounge area to play table soccer or tennis will do wonders for your body. If that is inappropriate, your body will be very thankful, if you do some desk stretches or other exercises. Need to make some phone calls? Then you can step outside or into the conference room and make calls while walking back and forth instead of sitting behind the desk.
2 – Go outside
It shouldn’t be news to anyone that staring at a screen or your phone for long stretches of time isn’t good for you. This one is our favourite, what can be better than a walk in a park or even better a forest outside of the town (if you are lucky if your work is close to it). If you are among the less lucky ones, just walk around the block. You can even meet up with someone and have a conversation and catch up on the latest news (shouldn’t be related to work – give yourself a real break from it).
3 – Work toward your dream job
This one works well especially well if your job is not a desk type but rather involves working on your feet. What can be better than sitting down at the computer and learning something new? Maybe you’d like to learn web or graphic design so that you can switch careers and make some money freelancing. Or maybe a new language so that you could ultimately find some freelance translation gigs? There’s a ton of free resources on the Web. It can be a book or a podcast –more on these below.
4 – Meditate
Beneficial effects of meditation have been known to people for thousands of years. It clears the mind and allows you to deal with stress and issues. Here’s how to do it if you’re new to meditation and want to try it. There are guided meditations too where all you have to do is put on a headset, close your eyes and enjoy peace even in the midst of workplace chaos.
5 – Continue that book or pick up a new one
Reading helps reduce stress, but only if you pick something you enjoy that won’t upset you. Reading the news will not be the best choice. The book you choose doesn’t have to be on any “best-seller” list. Here are several suggestions for awesome fiction and career books to get you started.
6 – Listen to podcast or music
If you’d like to give your eyes rest and reading a book or playing video games is not an option, then try podcasts. Podcasts are making a comeback today and are very popular with lots of topic options. After you click Play, all you have to do is sit or lie back, close your eyes, and listen. This works well with the #3 – you may choose a podcast that will make you more knowledgeable about that skill. And music – it is a great healer too, just a few minutes of humming can put a smile on your face.
7 – Do some housekeeping or office cleaning
Haven’t done sweeping in a long while? Dirty dishes in the sink? The microwave needs cleaning? The window glass is dusty? The desk screams for some organizing? The list goes on… The great thing about this method #7 – it kills 2 things at once: Your brain gets a break and you get done something boring but necessary.
8 – Brew some coffee (or tea)
A group of researchers at the University of Copenhagen has published a paper “Let’s Have a Cup of Coffee! Coffee and Coping Communities at Work” showing that coffee breaks is one of the most important factors in the workplace. Besides giving your mind a break, socializing with colleagues, coffee will give you an energy boost and provide with antioxidants and other nutrients. If you are a team person, by all means, make yourself a good cup of tea!
9 – Play a video game
In 2014, researchers from University College in London found a correlation between the total number of hours spent playing games and overall recovery from work-related stress that day. Playtime can also reduce your depression and make you feel better overall. Any genre of games works, but maybe best are those more relaxing like puzzles and “mindless” shooters. If you need a suggestion, this bubble shooter game with 800+ levels will give you long-lasting fun and pure relaxation for hours on end.
10 – Get some other downtime
The best advice is simply to figure out what you feel like doing today. Maybe yesterday it was doing some housekeeping, and today it’s sitting on a couch playing with your pets. By the way, it’s a well-known fact that interaction with pets has relaxing if not healing effect on us. So do give your smaller one a hug or play some fetch or throw and catch.
This should give you plenty of quality break time.
But all this doesn’t mean you should wait until your designated lunch break to unwind. Research has found that taking regular breaks every hour can do wonders for overall work performance – works best if you’re a freelancer! And if you’re under the watchful eye of your boss and are unable to leave your desk every hour, just standing up and doing some stretching for a minute or walking to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee can be all it takes to give your mind that much-needed distraction.