In a world where being busy is seen as being productive, taking a lunch break can often be frowned upon.
I’m sure everybody has heard at some point about the importance of stepping away from your desk at lunch-time, but if you’re still not carving out a good chunk of time for yourself then read on:
“Recent data from productivity app DeskTime, which tracked people’s office habits, found that the employees with the highest productivity took 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work – and they did not spend that break time checking social media or replying to emails.”
It can happen far too often that our one precious hour is spent eating a sandwich at a desk, an aimless walk around the block or checking social media. It’s then time to get back to work – feeling well, not very refreshed.
All in all roughly 38 hours working plus the time taken to commute, cook dinner, hang out with friends or put the kids to bed all ready for another day at the office doesn’t enable most people the time to de-stress or find much down time.
What you do in your lunch hour can have a huge impact on productivity for the rest of the afternoon, so first of all step away from your desk, then try a few of these:
1. Get a massage:
Massage can counteract the imbalance caused from sitting for prolonged periods and prompts the release of endorphins; the brain chemicals that produce feelings of wellbeing. Levels of stress hormones are also reduced which helps with a healthy immune system.
Adele Meston Founder & Remedial Massage Therapist from Inner wave Therapies in Sydney states:
“Every week I see clients suffering from lower back pain. Once each case is examined there appears to be a consistent common factor: long periods of sitting at a desk based job. When sitting in a locked and tense position for prolonged periods the gluteal muscles literally seize up, they aren’t being used and so they gradually weaken. This means that we begin to rely on other muscles and a compensation pattern occurs. In short; extra stress is put on the spine leading to back pain.
Getting a lunch time massage plus doing some regular activity such as yoga is a great combo to stay pain free. The yoga helps to fire up dormant gluteal muscles and the massage releases the tight muscles that are having to work too hard to compensate for the glut weakness. Like anything in life if you don’t use it you lose it.”
2. Take a walk
Grab some colleagues and go for a walk around the block or take a mindful walk alone.
Not sure where to go? Take a look at map my walk.
3. Practice mindful eating
Try to eat in solitude with a full focus on your food, take a minimum of 10 chews per mouthful and engage all of your senses to smell the food, feel the food in your mouth and the sensation of chewing, taste the food on your tongue and listen to the sound & feel the texture of the food. Take time to rest between each bites.
Check out Brisbane based co-founder of YIMI (The Yoga of integrative Medicine Institute) & Senior Yoga Teacher Celia Robert’s article on Mindful eating as recently featured on ABC Radio.
4. Try some yoga
Yoga provides the opportunity to stretch, breath and meditate and come back to work revived. Even 10 minutes of yoga and meditation will help to clear your mind.
If you’re strapped for time Corporate Yoga Australia offers a 30 minute lunch-box no-sweat yoga session to help you energise, de-stress and feel ready to take on the world!
5. Read a book
Find a book that lifts you up and inspires you. Not sure where to start, here are some ideas.
6. Release your inner-child
OK, so this headline might not appeal to everybody in the office. But it’s almost impossible not to smile and get your energy levels lifted with some hula-hoops, skipping ropes, trampolines or roller skates.
I teach in one office that keeps hula hoops, skipping ropes and trampolines in the break-out room; try using one of these for 5 minutes and watch your energy levels lift instantly.
If you know you’re guilty of staying at your desk during lunch, try a few of the above, or at least give yourself an hour to stay away from electronic devices and allow your brain time to reset.