London is a very challenging city that can leave us very little free time. But what shall we do? Passively accept this and continue living between home and office with very little time for ourselves? Or shall we start doing something about it and maximize on the little free time we have to enjoy ourselves? Discover how lunch breaks can really help facing work-related stress and give you a deserved break during an hectic day in the office, without affecting your productivity, but rather improving it.
1. IMPORTANCE OF TAKING A LUNCH BREAK
Many people have a sense of guilt if they take a lunch break. They feel as if they are being lazy. But what if we started having a sense of guilt if you didn’t take a lunch break? What if companies rewarded employees that take a lunch break outside or in nature? We are still quite a long way away from this, but more and more companies are becoming aware of the importance of their staff’s wellbeing, not only to retain their workforce but to increase their productivity and ROI. Researchers at Humboldt University in Berlin found that eating at the desk makes people more stressed, less creative and more inclined to gain weight. Whereas, taking the time to step away for lunch greatly enhances one’s work ethic. “Lunch isn’t just an opportunity to nourish your body; it’s an opportunity to nourish your mental state and your mind. It’s a restorative moment to create fertile ground for creativity”. (Kimberly Elsbach, University of California, Davis). Ok, let’s not exaggerate here and let’s try to do this step by step. Let’s start by trying to take one proper lunch break a week and try planning it ahead. The beauty of London is that it offers so much, so let’s try and do something different every week and I can assure you, the rest of your working day will feel a lot more positive!
2. WHAT TO DO DURING YOUR LUNCH BREAK
From a simple walk to eating at the park, to exploring the area where you work whilst exercising there are plenty of things you can do during your lunch break to reboost your energy and switch off. From street art, to a visit at a museum, to a nice walk in a park or city farm, London is a world to discover, even in just half an hour, so make the most of it. Check out some activities you could organize with your colleagues.
3. WALK, WALK WALK
With our Fitbits, our iPhones, Strava and many other apps, we are more conscious about how much we walk. But how do we walk? A correct walking technique engages 200 muscles every step we take, but very few people are even aware of the way they walk. From breathing, to posture, to rolling our feet there is a whole science behind how to walk properly to maximize the effects of walking on our body and mind. But let’s start by taking some time everyday to walk and try reaching the recommended target of 10,000 steps daily. Going for a brisk walk during your lunch break is a fantastic way not only to get some exercise but also to refresh your mind and improve your productivity and creativity once back in the office.
4. FIGHT LONELINESS:
London is one of the loneliest cities in the world and most people make friends only at work. So why not get a group of colleagues together and take a lunch break together every week that is not the usual Friday beer at the pub? Sharing meaningful experiences such as walking, sightseeing and music are fantastic ways to connect to others, share interests, boost mood and have a more positive and pro-active attitude in one’s professional and personal life.