Loving Your Lunch Break
The days of a long, leisurely lunch break seem to be over.Research shows that less than a third of the workforce take an hour off for lunch and a half said they regularly worked through lunch http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4282
People often say they would rather work through lunch so they can leave earlier but actually that often doesn't happen, so people work through lunch and still work late. Having a break IS important, for a whole variety of reasons.
It can improve concentration, provide time to reflect, eating healthy food at lunchtime can increase energy levels and for people who sit at desks, especially if using computer screens, it is vitally important to make sure you actually move your body and stand up and walk as sitting still for long periods has been linked to a whole host of health problems http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-32069698.
There is no doubt that it will be good for you, so how do you go about it? Well in this hub you will find lots of ideas to help you not only reclaim your lunch break but make it be of real benefit as well.
We know it is good to move around a bit especially if work involves sitting at a desk, so why not use lunchtimes to be active. Some people even think about enrolling in a lunchtime exercise class which many gyms and fitness centres now offer, others may enjoy a walk or a short bike ride. Many people tell me that it's hard to find time for exercise in their routine yet lunchtimes are often times we struggle to fill, therefore if we start to actually take time for lunch we can use it to incorporate exercise into the daily routine.So if you've been wanting to start zumba, kick boxing or pilates - lunchtime could be just the time to do it. There is the issue of changing and showering but most gyms have facilities for this and many run 'shorter' classes at lunchtimes.
If a class doesn't appeal then think about just getting outdoors for a while and having a walk, the fresh air is good as well as the exercise and even if you work in a city there are often parks within walking distance.
Change is as good as a rest
I know a lot of people who are in work but also studying and many jobs these days require certain training to keep up to date. Lunchtime can be a good time to catch up on research or reading or log into that online learning the boss has been encouraging you to do. It may not be a break in the strictest sense but using the time to do work can free up time later and simply changing activity can be refreshing. Moving to another place to do it can help it feel like more of a break - so going away from the desk, to another place in the office or even outside to library or café can be productive as well as giving a much needed break from work.
So whether it is resit, a GCSE, a work related short course or research for an assignment on a higher degree - claiming your lunch break for study could prove very useful.
Getting those 'jobs' done
By reclaiming your lunch break you can also crack through some of those tedious jobs that can be hard to fit in at other times Paying some bills, booking a flight, or sending some emails can all be done during a break. Even if you haven't got access to a computer many places have wifi and most phones can be used for many of those tasks.
If you work in a town or city then shopping is an option, buying that birthday gift or other things like bulbs or batteries, but by doing it at lunchtime it can save you time later on. It can also be a time when you can have a health check visit the dentist or even fit in a haircut.
It's worth remembering that lunchtime is YOUR time so an ideal way to enjoy your lunchtime is to do something you really like. So you could get lost in your latest book, enjoy a magazine or if you have a tablet catch an episode of your favourite TV show.
You could also use the time to indulge yourself with a manicure, or a bit of retail therapy, surf the net for a new recipe or plan dinner for the evening. Yes there are some restrictions, you may only have an hour, you may not be near certain amenities but for almost everyone there is something fun you can do at lunch time once you have decided to claim it back.
Friends and Family
Lunch times can also be great for catching up with friends, especially those where it is hard to find time at other points in the week. It could be lunch with a friend, or a catch up with a family member you don't see much. Location plays a part but if you can't manage to meet up physically you can still use the time to phone or message them, or catch up with social media. fFcebook, twitter or instagram is the way lots of friends stay in touch these days and lunchtime can be a great time to stay in touch.
It can also be time to build new friendships, you may see colleagues in a new light when you have taken the time to get to get to know them a bit away from the 'office'.
Whether we live and work in the same location or in different ones there are often lots of local attractions that we may not have explored. Local museums and art galleries or places of historical interest may be right on your doorstep. You can ask the 'locals' check out a guidebook or do a bit of research but almost everywhere will have some places of historical or cultural interest.
So try visiting a local gallery or museum or even a local nature reserve it could add a bit of culture to your lunch times!
Crafts and Hobbies
While you may not be able to paint your next masterpiece there are plenty of hobbies that can be indulged in during lunchtimes. Getting outdoors with your camera or a small sketch pad or taking sewing, knitting into work can be a way of being creative during your lunch breaks.
I know one colleague who would bring a small plastic case with her and spend her lunch time making greeting cards that she later sold, and for budding writers well and hour is time to pen a few words, or plan the next chapter!