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1. Take a proper break…

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This should go without saying, but the number one thing to do in your lunch break is to make sure you actually take a break! It can be easy to get swept up in work drama and end up working through your lunch, but that’s also a quick way to burn yourself out.

…no matter how busy the day

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Even if deadlines are approaching or things are busier than usual, taking even a short but properly demarcated break will most likely make you more productive over the rest of the day. Unless it’s totally unavoidable, lunch breaks are too important to be skipped.

2. Get away from your desk…

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If you work at a desk, choosing to eat your lunch there is a slippery slope we recommend avoiding. Because once you’re there, you could just check your emails quickly, and then just reply to that ONE, and bam- before you know it you’re working through your whole ‘break’.

…your body will thank you for it

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Plus, human beings aren’t really designed to sit in office chairs for eight hours a day anyway. No matter how ergonomic the swivel chair, it’s usually always better to give your body a change by getting up and sitting somewhere else. It will help you get in the right headspace too.

3. Stretch it out…

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Speaking of our poor office-bound bodies, one way to kick your lunch break off well is with a nice stretch. That’s right, channel your inner house cat and enjoy a nice, satisfying stretch. This will help you avoid end-of-the-day stiffness, and can be a real energy boost too.

…for your body and your mind!

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Aside from being a great feeling, the health benefits to a regular stretch during the work day really are huge. It gets the blood flowing, increasingly circulation, it relieves stress, improves flexibility, prevents aches and pains- the list goes on and on!

4. Breathe in some fresh air…

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Another great way to make the most of that precious hour of free time is to get out into the fresh air. Nothing will make the stresses and strains of work feel further away than actually getting outside, and breathing in some air that hasn’t been recycled through the AC thirty times.

…get that Oxygen into your lungs!

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It can massively improve your mood, and has even been shown to boost creativity and lateral thinking. Plus, given you’ll have had to go for a little walk to get there it’s got benefits for your physical health too- including all that extra Vitamin D you’ll get from the natural light.

5. Eat something nutritious…

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Again, this should really go without saying, but do make sure on your lunch break that you (you guessed it) actually eat lunch. A Diet Coke and some fresh air isn’t going to cut it! You need to fuel your body with something nutritious to be ready for the rest of the day.

…AND delicious

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Nutrition is only half of the equation when it comes to choosing your lunch- it should also be something you love! Life is all about balance, so it’s a good thing to get something that makes you feel happy, as well as nourished. After all, food is meant to be a joyous thing!

6. Enjoy a hobby…

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If you’ve still got time left over in your break, some people like to squeeze in a hobby- like a lunchtime game of racquetball, or some basketball practise. It will serve to get the blood pumping, and if it’s something you love you’ll return with a spring in your step.

…if sports aren’t your thing, why not try knitting?

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But sports aren’t the only hobbies you can indulge in of a lunch break! In fact given the admin of getting to a court, and showering after, it might be more practical to enjoy something more handheld like knitting, crochet, or puzzles like crosswords.

7. Get social…

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Especially if a lot of your work is independent, your break can be the perfect time to get some personal contact into your day. If you have a friend who takes their lunch at the same time, you could meet them or even give them a call for a little midday catch up.

…you could get to know your colleagues

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Or this could be the ideal opportunity to get better acquainted with your colleagues. Many a work bestie was found whilst eating sandwiches on the bench outside the office! Plus, is there anything better than a good work gossip? The bonds you form over a shared break will help make the rest of the day more bearable.

8. Plan your evening…

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Sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, right? By the time you get back from work, the evening lies ahead and you have approximately a million things to fit in: dinner, laundry, seeing your family, time with your partner, cleaning, having a social life, washing your hair, and relaxing. (Not necessarily in that order).

…it means you crack straight on when you clock off

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But, if you utilise your lunch break to plan your evening ahead, it means when you finally do clock off and get back home you have a plan. Whether it’s a new recipe, a movie that’s been on your Netflix for yonks, or a trip to the gym, you know exactly what’s on the table for the eve.

9. Crank some tunes..

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Is there a better way to shake off the midweek blues than with your favorite song? Music is a proven mood booster. So, whether you’re gaga for ABBA, crazy for The Kinks, or a die-hard Swiftie, get those tunes in your headphones and you’ll be feeling energised in no time.

…or binge your favorite podcast

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Or you could always explore the wonderful world of podcasts. From programmes that will expand your horizons and stretch your mind, to ones that will make you snort laugh into your coffee, there’s a whole world to discover! If you’re feeling a bit socially worn out, it can be a nice way to signal that you want some You Time.

10. You can’t beat a good daydream…

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A classic lunchtime activity is a good old fashioned daydream. Go on, why not? Indulge yourself with a few of your favorite fantasies (but, please, keep it PG 13!). Imagine yourself on the Met Gala red carpet, or backstage with Beyonce- this is your time, so let your mind wander if you fancy!

…even if it’s just about the weekend ahead

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If you want to keep it real, and indeed have a slightly tighter grasp on reality than I do, you might just want to let your mind wander to the weekend ahead, or whenever your next days off work are. Why not get some plans in the diary to look forward to?

11. Read a few pages…

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It’s so hard to find time to crack open a good book, isn’t it? Some of us only find time once a year on vacation: for those two weeks, you’re hooked, you can’t put it down! But then once you’re back to reality, it’s just too hard to fit into your schedule.

…people will notice!

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Even if it’s just a few pages, making a habit of cracking open your volume of choice during your break will get you back into it. Plus, not that this is the point, people will tend to notice and be impressed at how smart and put together you are- which is always a nice feeling!

12. Give your eyes a break too…

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We understand: the siren call of the smartphone is strong and intoxicating, none of us are immune. But if you’ve been gazing at a screen all day as part of your work, or even just contending with harsh lighting, your eyes are tired and they need a rest!

…or the health risks can be scary

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Screen are another thing that our bodies aren’t really designed for. Excessive screen time can cause dry eyes, which are uncomfortable and itchy; eye strain can cause difficulty focusing and blurred vision; and too much blue-light exposure can mess up your sleep. Basically, give them a rest for goodness’ sake!

13. Get zen…

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Meditation can be tricky to get started on- especially in the midst of a hectic day! But there are lots of guided meditations, or mindfulness apps, that can be helpful for beginners. Finding a little bit of calm on your break can really boost your resilience.

…breathing exercises are a godsend

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In through the nose, and out through the mouth. Ah! A few good deep breaths are calming at even the worst of times, and practising regularly can help you keep calm and centred through whatever work throws at you. Doing them on your lunch break will build a habit and make it easier to remember.

14. Write in a journal…

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Who’s your favorite diary keeper? Bridget Jones? Samuel Pepys? They always make a fascinating read, delving into the keeper’s inner life. Keeping one yourself can be a great way of expressing your feelings without having to go through the mortifying ordeal of opening up to an actual person.

…”dear diary”

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It can be a cathartic way to spend a few minutes of your break, reflecting on the day so far and maybe thinking about the day ahead. You’ll gain some perspective and have a little breather to reflect. Just make sure if you keep this journal at work, it’s kept out of sight so nobody goes snooping!

15. Feed your soul with some nature…

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If you’re lucky enough to work near a nice green spot, head out and feast your eyes on some natural beauty. Take a stroll round the park, touch the grass, gaze up at the trees. Bonus points for a pond, river, or any feeding of ducks. Reconnecting with the natural world is a guaranteed feel-good factor.

…stop and smell the flowers!

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The stresses of work tend to get blown way out of proportion. According to some managers, everything’s an impending disaster, or an unfolding crisis- it makes it all seem like a matter of life and death. Getting back to nature puts everything back in perspective: helping you remember, most everything can be fixed!

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