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Lifehack For Lunch: How to Maximize and Take Advantage of Your Mid-Day Break

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Lunch can be more than just about food. Done correctly, lunch breaks will enhance physical and mental health. Lunch break is a time to eat lunch and relax. This is an opportunity to relieve stress and build energy reserves for the afternoon. We are more likely to make unhealthy food choices and overeat when we are hungry. Whether you work from home or have a busy workload, lunchtime is the time of day for you to recover. Taking a lunch break can help you adopt a healthy lifestyle. What you eat for lunch can affect how you feel throughout the afternoon. Eating foods or drinks high in sugar can leave you with low energy later in the day. Instead, you can choose healthy afternoon snacks to help you have more steady energy.

Follow these tips to maximize and take advantage of your midday break at work:

1. Get up from your desk or work space.

Staying at your desk is a big no-no. There are more and more reports about the dangers of sitting too long. So, it is important to get up and walk to another room to eat, or better yet, go outside for some fresh air. A brisk walk can do wonders for the body and mind. Even if you're not sitting at your desk, you should leave your workspace during your lunch hour because this will help clear your mind.

2. Plan a time and space for a lunch break.

Working through lunch or eating at your desk or workspace can be very tempting. A real lunch break – in a different setting, dedicated to eating – will help you feel rested and ready to face the second part of the day. Don't waste your lunch break because it's "free time". Time is a non-renewable resource, no matter where you are and no matter what time of day it is. Try your best to plan and make the most of it.

3. Eat!

OK, this seems obvious. But even if you're trying to lose weight or running errands on your lunch break, don't skip lunch — or at least a snack. Your diet - especially your glucose intake - will determine your productivity for the rest of the day. Don't try to be a hero and starve yourself just because you want to be a hard worker or check off something else. If you have a headache or dizziness at 4 p.m., you haven’t ultimately gained anything.

4. Take a real break.

Taking a 60-second break from work to eat lunch at your desk doesn't count. To benefit from a real period of rest, it must include a real period of time away from work. Try not to check email, bring work, or talk about work during lunch.

5. Enjoy your food.

Lunch should be about lunch. It's easy to get distracted by your surroundings while eating. To eat more mindfully, try using all five senses. Before taking your first bite, pay attention to the color and aroma of the dish in front of you. After your first bite, take a moment to notice the texture, taste, and sounds the food makes in your mouth. If you have a favorite place or a particular dish you like, make sure you go there and enjoy it at least once a week. You only live once.

6. Avoid all screens.

Try to stay away from your iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and computer. Give your eyes a rest. Most office jobs require you to stare at a screen all day, so try to avoid that during lunch. If you can't help yourself for some reason (maybe you want to shop online or email a friend), stand up from your desk to give your body a break. Really rest.

7. Don’t take too long or too short of a break.

If you have an hour for lunch, take it. Maybe not every day, but when possible, take a full sixty minutes to go out, eat, exercise your mind or body, catch up with friends or old colleagues, and/or tackle items on your agenda. Your personal schedule. However, if everyone in the office takes shorter breaks, do the same so you don't stand out. Don't take breaks too long or too often, or people will start to notice. And don't force your coworkers to respect your vacation schedule.

Source: Forbes, Buffer, Vanderbilt Health

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