We're all guilty of working through our lunch hour to finish something off for work. While around 54% of British workers now work straight through lunch, we're actually missing out on a boost to our happiness and productivity at work. Finding it hard to make the most of your breaktime? Here are 5 ways to get that spring in your step come afternoon, and to making your lifestyle a healthier one.
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Step away from your desk at lunchtime for a more productive afternoon
Break up with your desk
Step away: you and your desk don't need to spend every minute together. As daylight hours begin to dwindle in the winter, get a touch of natural light while you can by stepping outside. Time in nature can help refresh the brain, and changes in scenery can help spark your creativity. A pedometer app like Pacer (App Store, Google Play, Free), helps you make the most of your time by tracking your daily steps and giving you a goal to reach.
Make the most of natural light while you can during your lunch hour
Eat yourself healthy
A good meal is essential for your working day, and research has shown that healthy meals including fruit and vegetables lead to a happier day-to-day life. Spend some time to prepare a meal for lunch the next day, or make more dinner so that you can take left-overs. Failing that, avoid hunger and guilt by going healthy with a food delivery service such as Deliveroo (App Store, free), which delivers healthy, high-quality food straight to your office.
Martin Morales' quinoa, avocado, chilli and honey salad
Reach inner peace
If you work in an office, especially in a high-pressure environment, some breathing room can become essential. Be mindful and turn off your computer and mobile for an hour, enjoy a burst of energy thanks to eating superfoods such as avocado and quinoa and try some mindfulness Apps for a mini meditation session. If you're feeling particularly fluffy, we've got great news: looking at pictures of baby animals can cause a 40% increase of productivity, according to Japanese researchers.
Sweat it out
Lots of gyms have 30-45 minute classes that will still give you time to de-sweat and eat lunch, so it's worth checking out these in your local area. Many areas and offices have running groups that you can join, and if they don't, why not set one up yourself?
Go the gym for a short exercise class or go for a run with a local group
It's good to talk...
Research has found that socialising can boost your memory and your thinking skills, and that even a ten-minute conversation can have a positive effect. Given how much time you will spend at work, possibly over 2,000 hours a year, these may be the people with whom you spend the most time - so don't forget to chat with them. An experiment found that colleagues who took breaks together were far happier than those who took them alone and that it strengthened their abilities at work, so head outside and talk to the people who you share a third of your day with…