10 ways to use your lunchbreak
You need a break. It’s not lazy to take a little time out of the day to regroup, refresh and regenerate.
Research in the UK and USA has shown that a majority of workers do not take lunch: in fact, up to two-thirds of staff in Britain are failing to take a break and this impacts on productivity.
Is lunch a leisurely activity for you, or a mad rush to eat and catch up on work? We’ve compiled a list of 10 things to do on your lunchbreak. Hint: It’s not studying!
1. Clear your diary
Try and give yourself at least 10 minutes either side of your lunchbreak for planning your afternoon / evening work, and avoid scheduling meetings that run right up to your lunch hour, as you could end up rushing and raising stress levels.
2. Remove digital distractions
Avoid your computer, phone / tablet, and the onslaught of emails and messages. Make your lunch your work-free period, even if it is just twenty minutes.
You might have time to pop to a gym, but at the very least do some sort of physical activity to raise endorphins, give your spine a break (unless you’re lucky enough to own a standing desk or treadmill desk!), and get some fresh air. If you have a packed lunch look at taking a walk to the nearest green area or park. For the more adventurous - and perhaps less shy - you can have a high intensity workout for just 7 minutes, with no gym membership.
4. Healthy eating
Try and avoid the junk food. We agree it’s a great endorphin rush and quick fix, but it could lead to you feeling tired in the afternoon, with a knock-on effect for your health. If caffeine and sugar levels go up, then at some point they must logically come down. You don’t need to a paragon of virtue: think about establishing a naughty day for what you consider to be ‘junk’ food. Depending on how disciplined you are, that can be once a week, or once a month.
5. Take an actual break
Around twenty-minutes’ minimum would help clear your head. Rest and nutrition are vital for cognitive function and giving your brain a relaxing recharge is a good idea. A break can help clear your head, and we all know there’s nothing useful about carrying frustrations over to the afternoon.
Take a twenty-minute nap. Perhaps not at your desk, but if you’re at home studying, think about having a quick snooze or eye rest to decompress. The act of sleeping at night is essentially a brain cleanse – we file away information, discard what we don’t need and remove toxins. Make sure it is just around twenty minutes as otherwise you could be tempted to snooze the day away!
7. Investigate and try the Alexander Technique
This technique is used by musicians, actors, and athletes, but there’s no reason why a CA student should not join in. It works to make you more aware of your body to enable you to remove repetitive strain, stiff limbs and improved breathing. Professional piano players will often study this technique as they need to be pain-free and limber for concerts, and sitting down at a keyboard for hours can be a strain on the body. It’s also great for those long exams!
8. Do something that you love
If you’re studying at home, this is the time you can take advantage of your surroundings. Dance, sing, jump around, complete a crossword. Even if you take out just fifteen minutes to do this, it will raise your mood, your energy and possibly your dancing ability.
9. Read a book
Reading is fun, what more could you ask for?
If you just can’t resist getting in some form of work, you can use your lunch-hour to network or interact with people from your office. A working lunch can still involve time away from the office and a healthy meal. Students can take advantage of the ‘Letslunch’ app, which matches you with nearby people in your industry, for interesting discussion, good eating and more.