Most employees are entitled to an hour a day to tuck into their lunch, kick back with a book or browse the shops. But in a culture of high workloads and insecure jobs, many are left feeling guilty, or altogether unwilling, to take their daily breaks.
But skipping lunch is a sure-fire way to kill your productivity because you’ll end up running on empty. Eating quickly “al desko” hunched over your keyboard is bad for you too.
According to research carried out by Bupa, just one in three workers take a full lunch hour, with nearly a quarter of employees saying they feel under pressure from their boss to work through their break.
So what can you do to make your lunch break more enjoyable and relaxing?
Find a hobby
Learn a language, take up yoga or go to a cookery class – use your lunch hour to do something that will challenge you and, indirectly, improve your skills in the workplace.
You work hard all day, so go and spend some of that hard-earned cash. Whether it’s at the shops or at a spa, you deserve it.
Using your lunch break to exercise prevents you from slumping at your desk browsing the internet. Instead, you can get fitter and recharge your batteries to counteract that post-lunch slump.
Look for a quiet corner away from the noise of your office and immerse yourself in a good book.
If you’d like to give something back to your local community or a charity that has a special meaning for you, now’s your chance. There are several online services that allow you to donate your time to help charitable organisations.
Alternatively, you can offer to mentor a recent graduate or tutor APC candidates.
Napping has been scientifically proven to improve cognitive processes. Having 40 winks will improve your ability to remember new information and avoid the afternoon drop in energy. Short, 15–20-minute naps are recommended for the best results. Be sure to set your alarm, though, so you’re back at your desk on time!
Take a walk
You spend all day sitting, so use your lunch break to stretch your legs and explore the area. You never know what you might discover, and getting some fresh air will reinvigorate you for the afternoon.
Call a friend
Even in this age of social media, it can be hard to keep up with everyone. A quick chat during lunch can be a great way to maintain friendships.
As well as doing some of these great activities during your break, don’t forget the most important thing: have a nutritious meal.