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4 Healthy Ways to Spend Your Next Lunch Break

By | Selena Burke

With the hustle and bustle of work, it can be easy to forget about priortizing your health. A survey on work reports that office workers spend 58% of their day doing “work about work” — often including repetitive tasks and pointless meetings. The lack of strategic planning often leads to stress in the office, with 40% of workers believing that burnout is an inevitable part of success. To improve the quality of your workdays, you should engage in healthy habits that can relieve you of your stress. Almost all businesses provide lunch breaks to accommodate rest which can be the best time to engage yourself. Here are health-beneficial ways you can spend your next lunch break:

Be physically active

Many workers who use their computers for work tend to sit at their desks for hours on end. These long periods of sitting can be detrimental to health, contributing over time to high blood sugar and high cholesterol. To combat the effects of prolonged sitting, you can use your lunch break to step away from your desk and be physically active, like hitting the office gym or going for a quick run. These also have the added benefit of taking your eyes off the computer and soothing your vision from too much screen time. For people not fond of intensive exercise, taking walks can be the simplest way to relieve your body without breaking too much sweat.

Eat wholesome and healthy food

Sometimes, workers let stress dictate their lunch choices, especially if they’re eating out. While salty and sweet “comfort foods” can ease the emotional strain, they may not be the healthiest or most savvy choices. A healthy eating lunch plan doesn’t mean you need to count all the calories you eat, however. Instead, you need to look at the big-picture nutrition data to ensure your body gets what it needs. Consider how the calories from a chocolate chip cookie might have the same number of calories from grilled chicken – but a completely different impact on how it will make your body feel. To eat healthier lunches, you can start making better choices by swapping out unhealthy options, such as choosing Greek yogurt over ice cream for dessert.

Take a nap

Although taking a nap may seem counterproductive at work, having a 20-minute power nap can be a great way to freshen yourself up. A study on daytime naps found that naps were able to improve cognitive performance and memory, as well as boost mood and creativity. This improved state usually lasts 30 to 120 minutes after waking, which helps enhance work quality and performance. Even in countries such as Japan, “inemuri” or “sleeping while present” considers napping in the office as a sign of diligence rather than laziness. If you’re having trouble falling asleep in a noisy workplace, you may need to look around for an empty meeting room or a quiet place, like the local library, where you can nod without bothering anyone.

Practice a mindful relaxation

An effective way to take yourself away from the tension and stress of work is to have mindful relaxation. Although hanging out with your coworkers can be fun, separating your work during the short break can sometimes be challenging. By taking the time for yourself, you can focus on more personal aspects that promote a more relaxed attitude. Depending on your preference, you can do simple breathing exercises and meditation or take the time to jot down your thoughts for the day, letting you face afternoon work challenges with a more positive mindset.

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