Ways to Destress During Your Lunch Break
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While reading Cosmopolitan on my lunch break recently, I came across an article titled, "Get Happy on Your Lunch Break." How appropriate. We all have difficult days at work and sometimes we just need some sort of "release" during a scheduled break. Depending on the length of your lunch break, here are a number of suggestions for what you can do during lunch to destress.
1. Listen to Some Tunes
You can use this technique even on the shortest of breaks. Whether you bring your iPod to work with designated playlists for relaxation (maybe some zen meditation music or nature sounds) or just listen to your favorite song on the radio right now, the music can have a very soothing effect on a bad mood. For those of you who have content filters that block YouTube and Pandora at work, a great website with unique music selections is Hype Machine (http://www.hypem.com). You can create a free account to search and save songs that you can access later no matter where you are!
2. Go for a Drive
One thing that always helps me destress at work is going for a drive. The benefit of this technique is getting a temporary change of scenary while escaping a rining phone or coworkers knocking at my door. Don't work somewhere where you can easily go for a stress-free drive or don't want to lose your awesome parking spot? Go for a walk instead - the endorphines will give you a boost to deal with any situation that may arise when you get back to the office.
3. Binge! (just a little...)
While it's not advisable that you go binge drinking during your break, it's perfectly acceptable to ditch your spinach salad with low fat dressing and hit up your favorite greasy guilty pleasure if you're having one of "those" days. The key to this tactic is not feeling guilty afterwards. Oh, and you probably shouldn't make this one a habit or your "go to" when you're having a bad day.
4. Read Your Favorite Magazine
Reading about things you're interested in can be a great way to distract yourself on your break. I keep a magazine in my office at all times so that if I need to take a breather and relax during lunch, I have an enjoyable distraction. Reading magazines can also be a great source of inspiration for all you hubbers out there!
5. Decorate Your Work Space
If you work in an environment that is dull and dreary, you can't possibly be expected to give 100% all the time. Decorate your work area with colors you like, photos of loved ones, or other objects that are bound to boost your mood and make you feel at home. Having little mementos around you at work can help you when you're having the worst day ever.
6. Pamper Yourself
Depending on where you work, you may have a salon or spa nearby. Get a mani, pedi, or massage to help raise your spirits and lower your stress levels. Just make sure you don't get anything waxed - you don't want to go back to the office sore or red!
7. Call a Sympathetic Ear
Sometimes we just want the indulgence of being able to vent about our crappy day. Call your mom or a close friend if you're in need of talking to someone not associated with work. You could also find a lunch buddy from your office - just watch what you say when you're venting, you never know what might be repeated to your boss or other coworkers.
8. Play a Game
Most of us have an iPhone, Android-powered phone, or other cellular device with games on it these days. Mahjong or Words with Friends can be a great way to spend your lunch break. Whatever your game of choice is, there's probably an app for you. Just make sure your Angry Birds addiction doesn't interfere wtih work time...
Similar to suggestion #1, you can listen to zen meditation music or tracks filled with the sounds of nature (such as thunderstorms, waves, etc.) and practice controlled breathing to destress. This technique may not be an option for a lot of different job descriptions, but it is an effective way to destress and regain focus.
10. Plan a Trip
Need to get away? Spend your lunch hour checking out vacation deals for you and your significant other (or friend) to take advantage of. Whether it's a weekend getaway or an elaborate excursion, the excitement associated with planning and anticipating the trip will be a huge mood boost, with the glow lasting until even after you return back from your trip. Sites like Expedia (www.expedia.com) and CheapTickets (www.cheaptickets.com) always have great deals to choose from - something for every budget!
Because I just needed to get away...
Take some of these suggestions the next time you're having a lousy day at work. Have some suggestions of your own? Comment below to share your ideas with others.
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