Do you spend your lunch hour eating over your keyboard and trying to plow through work? You’re not alone. Only one in five people step away from their desk for the midday meal. But taking a break can help you recharge and be more productive. Consider these smart moves to maximize your break—and return to work feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your day.
Ditch the Gadgets
Feeling frazzled? Technology is meant to help us, but research shows that information overload can actually make us less productive. So at lunchtime, unplug. Meet a friend for lunch, read a few chapters of a book, or take a walk outside.
Connect With Nature
Head to a nearby park or walking trail, and take in the sights and scents. Spending time in nature can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and improve your mood. It can also boost memory and attention—a handy bonus when you dig back into work.
Get a Move on
A super-sweaty gym workout probably isn’t feasible at lunch, but a 30-minute stroll is totally doable. Not only can a daily walk lower your risk for diseases, it can also boost your brainpower and improve your mental state.
Experiencing art or expressing your own creative side can help reduce anxiety, improve your mood, and prevent burnout. On your break, unwind by working on a craft project, pouring your thoughts into a journal, or listening to your favorite music.
Find a private spot or close your office door, and focus on being mindful—which just means being still and aware of the moment. Being more present can reduce stress and improve creativity and memory. You don’t need to meditate for hours; a few minutes will do. Simply sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, focus on your breath, and allow your mind to quiet itself.