Back in the old days when we went to work at the office, lots of us just powered through lunchtime and kept on working. But the thing is, working through lunch may feel like you’re getting more done, but it can make you less productive, not more. A recent survey reveals that nearly seven in 10 Americans are now working from home, so why not use this new setup to our advantage? One way to do that is by actually taking a break at lunch. Environmental psychologist Lee Chambers and psychologist Jessica DiVento, the mental health program manager at Google, recommend spending your lunch break at home doing these things.
- At the bare minimum, step away from your desk – You deserve a break and a change of scenery from your couch or wherever you work at home to help clear your head and hit the reset button.
- Make a healthy lunch and sit down to actually enjoy it – One of the perks of working from home is that your kitchen is right there, so take advantage of that and give yourself an upgrade over your old sad desk lunch you had at the office. Cooking can help you disconnect from work and eating mindfully can help you feel more grounded and it helps with digestion.
- Step outside – Let the sun shine in your eyes and the fresh air blow on your face in the middle of the day. The natural light stimulates serotonin production, making us feel happier.
- Move your body – Getting outside is great, but if you can take a walk around the block? Even better. Working from home means we’re more sedentary, so counteract that by being active during your lunch break. It’ll help you think more sharply and improve your mood, too.
- Spend time with a loved one, in person or virtually – Missing the connection you had with your coworkers pre-pandemic? Recreate it by reaching out to a friend or family member with a video call or spending time with your kids at lunch.
- Meditate or do some other grounding practice – Use part of your break to slow down, breathe, and check in with yourself. If meditation isn’t your thing, try something else restorative, like prayer or journaling, or get creative with gardening or drawing. It can help ease stress and leave you ready to tackle the afternoon.