Irrespective of how much we enjoy our jobs, most of us look forward to our lunch break with a rising sense of anticipation as the morning progresses.
Whether we sit behind a desk or whether we are on our feet dealing with members of the public - whatever it is that we do, we need a break from our work. Lunch time is the longest break we get in an average working day. Most employers within a typical 9-5 job will allow a short break in the morning and the afternoon with an hour interval for lunch.
However, to attain the maximum personal benefit, there are certain things that we should not be doing if we aim to return to our job refreshed, with a positive mindset and ready for the afternoon.
Do not spend the hour scrolling through and checking social media as not only is it often negative content but it is also proven to be both stressful and draining and also very time consuming. Often we think to ourselves that we will scroll through something for a few minutes, just to find that several hours pass instead.
Do not be tempted to travel back to your home to put a load of washing on, check if the postman has been, unload the dishwasher or get the vacuum cleaner out. Leave these tasks for home and try to have a work/ home boundary. It is very tempting, especially if you forgot to do something before leaving for work but it can wait.
Do not dismiss that your lunch time is for doing exactly that - lunch. It is important to adequately nourish and hydrate yourself for optimum physical and mental health.
Do not surround yourself with negative people or gossip. Enter into uplifting, worthwhile and light hearted conversation if you are having lunch with colleagues but steer clear from the naysayers and idle or unpleasant chatter.
Do not feel you are obliged to stay in the office environment. If you enjoy a solitary walk in nature, reading a book or eating your lunch al fresco with a colleague and this is what you choose to do, then so be it.
Finally, a very real temptation is often to try and catch up on work that needs to be done or finished but the reality is that this is what your working hours are for and no matter how inviting it may feel to work through all or part of a lunch break, it will inevitably leave you feeling overwhelmed and fatigued which ultimately will not bring about any advantage for yourself, your colleagues or your employer.
"There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither." - Alan Cohen - author
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