Work from home: 4 things to do during your lunch break that'll benefit your health 1 year ago

Work from home: 4 things to do during your lunch break that'll benefit your health

It's hard to believe, but it has been a whole year since workplaces closed and we all packed our work life and took it home with us.

Since then, the vast majority of us set up office in the spare bedroom, at the kitchen island or at the dining table. We have swapped our hour-long commute for a five-second one down the stairs, and have embraced Zoom-ready WFH fashion (hello sweat pants and beautifully ironed blouse on top). Needless to say, life has been flipped upside down, but having done it for 12 months and counting, we are getting rather used to this stay-at-home life.


One thing that has suffered, though, according to surveys, is our lunch breaks. Now, with no colleagues around to catch up with and no fancy lunch spots nearby to test out, many of us have taken to skipping lunch altogether, or, at best, just chomp down a sandwich at our desk (AKA dining table) while simultaneously scrolling through e-mails on our phones, or tuck into last night's dinner leftover with one hand on the keyboard.

However, did you know not making the most of your lunch break will not only harm your stress- and energy levels, but can even make you less creative and efficient? It's true. Speaking to Forbes, career coach Anita Attridge explains that taking time to disconnect from your work provides renewed energy, and, as a result, makes the rest of the day go more smoothly.

"Typically, the afternoon can bring some lulls that can be offset by having been away from your desk. Talking with people about something besides work during lunchtime can also boost your energy level and improve your mood.”

See? It's time to reclaim your lunch break! This hour should be used to recharge yourself and get ready for whatever the afternoon will throw at you.


Here are five easy things to do during your lunch hour that will leave you healthier, happier, and with more energy:

1. Take an actual break

Close down your computer, turn your phone on silent, and really try to distance yourself from the 'office' when you are taking your lunch. Try to find somewhere to eat where you are not looking at your work station, avoid all screens.


And, don't forget to remind yourself not only is it your right to take a proper lunch break, but you will also do your job better and more efficiently f you have made the effort to take a proper break away from your desk for lunch.

If I am staying in the house, I love switching on some music, putting on a podcast or simply calling up my mum or dad or sister to chat to while I am preparing lunch. It helps keep my mind off work, and talking to people you love is always an energy-booster anyway.

2. Catch a yoga class

A little bit of exercise on your lunch break will make you feel refreshed and filled with energy for the rest of the day – meaning no 4PM slump that has you reaching for the chocolate. Not to mention how breaking a sweat or even doing some stretching can be a great way to alleviate any stress you might be feeling.


I love yoga, and used to frequently, back in the pre lockdown days, catch a yoga class on my lunch break. Now, however, with studios closed and my office being at home, I am obsessed with the subscription-based Alo app on my phone (and on my Apple TV). Now I simply pick a class I fancy doing that day (there are so many to choose from), get changed into yoga wear (if I am not already wearing it, which, most days, I actually am), and get stuck in.

Many of the classes are between 20-30 minutes long, meaning they are the perfect length for a lunch break, still leaving you with time leftover to eat some food.


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3. Get some fresh air


Never underestimate the power of fresh air, movement and a change of scenery.

These days, many of us are spending far too much time sitting down, and this sedentary lifestyle isn't doing any of us any good. Instead, grab your runners and your coat, and head outside on your lunch break. Take a brisk stroll, power walk or even run if you fancy it – the point is being outside and getting your body moving.

And if you can't actually leave the house right now, try other ways of getting fresh air and feeling the sun on your skin – you will no regret it. Eat your lunch outside, throw open all the windows, take a walk around the garden, it doesn't matter, the idea here is that nourish yourself with all the goodness of air and sunshine.


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4. Do something creative

Being creating and making something, whether it is a cake or a painting or a macramé wall hanging, will nourish your brain and give you more energy.

Scientists are continuing to uncover encouraging evidence that engaging in creative activities — from painting to potting plants to planning parties — is beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing. The reason being creative is so good for us, is that it puts us in a 'flow' state of mind – in other words, we get so lost in the task we are doing that everything else disappears.

Research has shown that when we are in a flow state, brainwaves slow down, and original thoughts are better able to form. Additionally, the prefrontal cortex temporarily deactivates, or “goes quiet,” making us less critical of our ideas and more courageous. Lastly, when we are creative, our brain releases “an enormous cascade of neurochemistry,” including large quantities of endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These are pleasure- and satisfaction-inducing chemicals that affect creativity and well-being.


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