Now that working from your abode has become the new standard, you may feel tempted to make every lunch break a working meal. It turns out, eating your turkey sammie at your desk everyday can lead to burnout and fatigue, so find ways to keep the midday break an actual respite from your responsibilities.
Even when work is at home, you’re still at a job during those hours, and you still need a break in order to keep performance up to optimal levels. Alan Kohll at Forbes explains, “Without taking adequate breaks from work, employee productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance begin to suffer.” Don’t feel pressured to rush back to your desk after you scarf down your lunch, either. It’s beneficial to take the whole period for yourself.
Nothing can make a lunch period fly by quite like fumbling around the kitchen looking for the mayo jars and BBQ potato chips. If you plan ahead the night before, you can whip up something delectable that can be unwrapped or microwaved for quick consumption the next day. That will leave a chunk of time for you to decompress. A little meal prepping can go a long way. Denise Bustard has curated a list of 25 simple lunch prep ideas at Sweet Peas and Saffron. If you’re not into details, just make a little extra dinner to heat up the next day.
If you find yourself finished with lunch before your time is over, resist the urge to plop down at your desk before work is scheduled to begin. Stacey Shipman recommends, “A midday meditation break has a number of potential benefits. It’s an effective way to de-stress after a long meeting or difficult conversation. It can relax tight muscles caused by sitting slumped over a computer.” A quick internet search yields a wealth of five-minute guided meditation videos.
We’re all well versed in the health benefits of exercising, but it turns out, it can help with our thinking skills throughout the day, too. Bryan Lufkin writer at BBC explains a 2013 study revealed, “regardless of age, people experience ‘immediate benefits’ for cognition following ‘a single bout of moderate exercise’, such as 15 minutes of moderately intense cycling on a stationary bike.” If you’re looking for a routine to squeeze into your lunch break, Paige Waehner at VeryWellFit recommends one of these mid-day workouts.
You’re not chained to your desk, don’t give yourself an imaginary tether by staying at it for your breaks. Your free periods are available to you for a reason, use them to your advantage.