While most office workers in the UK take a one-hour break, many of us find that in reality we are taking ten minutes to wolf down a sandwich while remaining at our desks. There are a number of reasons we do this;
1. The first rule of the break is to get off the computer. This means even if you do not leave your desk to eat, you should not be looking at the screen while you eat. This also goes for smartphone and tablet screens. You need this time to allow your eye muscles to relax.
2. If possible, get outside for some fresh air. This can be a hassle and not very attractive if you are 20 floors up in the city; however, if you can do this, it will help to clear your head. Likewise, looking at things outside requires the eye muscles to work differently and helps combat eyestrain.
3. Talk to colleagues about something non-work related. Even if it is just about last night’s TV, changing the subject will help your brain to remain flexible, boost your energy levels and improve your mood.
4. Do not rush away from your desk when the clock strikes one; instead, lean back, close your eyes and take a deep breath. This time will help you to clear your head and plan your lunchtime.
5. If you cannot get outside, take a walk around the office. This is also a good chance to make new connections and talk to new people.
6. If you work near the shops and have to buy a birthday present or clothes, do it in your lunch break rather than after work. A mini shopping-break is an activity for those who do not want to sit on a bench and listen to the birds.
7. Meet up with a friend nearby. If you know someone in a neighbouring office, why not get together for a sandwich and a chat?
8. Listen to music or read a real book. If you get bored sitting outside in the park, take your headphones and sit back with your eyes closed or turn your attention to a good story.
9. Eat. The purpose of the lunch break is to eat. No one is more efficient because they skip lunch. Whether they notice it or their colleague notice it, low blood sugar kills productivity.
10. Do something different. Variety is said to be the spice of life and your lunch break is the perfect time to test this theory. Do not be afraid to change your routine.
You should be as proactive about your lunch hour as you are about your working day. It is of the upmost importance that you remind yourself of the value of the break and plan it accordingly. Your lunch hour is a time to recharge your body and mind get yourself ready to be efficient again.
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