Never underestimate the power of a satisfying lunch hour. It can improve your overall job satisfaction and your work performance. Plus, making time for a little R&R will help you become a better co-worker. No one wants to work with Mr. McGrumpy. People want to connect with you on a personal level, and having fun excursions to talk about will make you more approachable and help you bond with your co-workers.
Shaking up your routine can also be an amazing source of energy and inspiration. If you are stuck in the middle of a big project, you may unknowingly adopt self-imposed limits and lose your creative edge. Taking a break can give you fresh eyes. Those lightning bolt ideas often strike when you’re busy doing something non-work related. So step away from your desk and take time for you. You’ll be grateful you did. Here are ten ideas to get you started.
1. Play a sport
Get outside. Play volleyball, tennis, or even ping pong. Throw a Frisbee. Start a game of horse on the basketball court. Playing sports is an ideal way to bond with co-workers. You may not have much in common with them, but when you’re playing a sport, it doesn’t matter. You’ll be laughing and smiling before you know it.
2. Go for a walk
If you’re looking for some solo time, try something simple like going for a walk. It doesn’t cost anything, but it will lift your spirits and clear your head. Poke around a nearby neighborhood and soak in the sights. Noticing all the different people around you can help put things in perspective. Your workplace is just a small drop in the bucket. Even though it may feel all-consuming at times, there is so much more out there.
3. Get a massage
Just do it! You know you want one. Getting a massage is like buying a little piece of heaven. It’s that amazing. If you’re hesitant to invest a lot of money and time, go for a chair massage. They’re offered in some pharmacies, grocery stores and malls. A chair massage can sometimes feel even more amazing than a traditional sixty minute massage because you really savor every second of it.
4. Catch up with a friend
You may think you never have time to catch up with all your buddies, but what about lunch? Even if they live in a different city, schedule a phone date. Having a great conversation with someone you know and trust is a hundred times better than anything you’ll find in the vending machine.
5. Relax in a coffee shop
Coffee shops have it all – an eclectic mix of people, funky art, cool music, comfy chairs, and the most beloved pick-me-up of all time: caffeine. Whether you feel like staring out the window for a while or working on the next great American novel, coffee shops are the place to be.
6. Save a life
It can be tough to find the time and energy to do the kind of volunteer work you care about. One way to directly help others in a big way is to donate blood. A little effort can go a long way towards helping someone in serious distress. You’ll literally be giving a part of yourself to someone else in need. What a gift.
7. Get crafty
Find a place where you feel comfortable and break out your knitting needles, crochet hook or scrapbooking materials. It can feel so good to make something unique with your own hands. The rhythmic, meditative qualities of knitting and crochet are a powerful source of stress relief. If you have a friend or co-worker who shares your passion it can be even more fun.
8. Work out
Making time for exercise can be very difficult, especially if you are a parent. Many people find working out during lunch to be the perfect solution. Go for a run or a swim. Take a yoga class. Ride your bike. Even twenty minutes of exercise can make a big difference in your day. The important thing is to do an exercise that is convenient and enjoyable so you stick with it.
9. Listen to music
Do you still listen to the same music you listened to ten years ago? You are missing out! Don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut. Use your lunch hour to explore new music. Trade playlists with your friends. Browse a CD store or listen to Pandora. Check out concert dates and make plans to see your favorite bands live.
10. Eat something tasty
It’s lunch, after all! Treat yourself to something you know you will truly love whether it’s a hot dog or sushi. Dining out is the perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and co-workers. After a long morning in your cube, a change of scenery can make all the difference.
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