10 Ways to Liven Up Your Lunch Hour


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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Sarah Nagel is lucky to live in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. She works as an editor by day and a freelance writer by night. Connect on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sarahnagel.

Discussion

  1. lol nice tips. I really like No.10. Eat something tasty as I love food! lol

    And it does make a lot of difference if I have something good to eat vs normal food.

    But I think No.8. Work out is a little too difficult to apply in theory. I find working out either in the morning before work or at night after work, to be more practical.

    Nabeel

  2. Carl Natale on the 30th June

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been tempted to do #3 (Get a Massage). But I don’t think I would want to go back to work after that. It would be too tempting to whip out the credit card and declare “Keep ’em coming.”

    Nice list though. Makes me feel like I’ve been doing lunch all wrong.

  3. Aaron White on the 30th June

    A group from my office has been going to the driving range about once a week. Not everyone is a golfer but who cares, it’s the driving range.

    It’s also nice on those high stress days to get out there and grip it and rip it!!!

  4. Scent Magic on the 30th June

    I’ve been taking walks over my lunch break for years – it makes a world of difference, not just in avoiding the afternoon slump but in having more energy and less stress overall. There’s always time for at least 15 minutes of walking – just circle the block, or take the stairs a couple of times. It helps!

    laura

  5. crazyideafactory on the 30th June

    I was lucky enough to move close enough to my job so that I can spend my lunch hour eating and talking with my family. It is definitely the best lunch hour ever.

  6. Sean Carter on the 30th June

    At my office, myself and four other co-workers go to one of their apartments and play Call of Duty for an hour! Really helps break up the day and gets your energy levels back up for the afternoon!

  7. Beverly on the 30th June

    All of the above are great ideas and I think I’ve done almost all of them. We’ve had physical trainers, yoga teachers, and even massage therapists come to our office to offer classes/services during the day – they all help with morale, health and mood!

    But here’s another idea I think is pretty awesome too: “Lunch and Learn” – Let your fellow coworkers know you’re going to teach them all something cool and relevant during lunch…In my former job some of our cool topics were HDR Photography basics and Adobe Lightroom. Everyone brought their cameras and/or their computers, their lunch, and we booked a conference room for the space. Whether it’s for personal or professional development, make it something fun, rotate around the office “experts”, enjoy some camaraderie and expose yourself to something new and creative.

  8. Jens P. Berget on the 3rd July

    Great advice. I usually end up working during my lunch break, and I end up eating while using the computer. I probably don’t have to tell you have nice my keyboard or my desk looks after my lunch break :)

    I should probably do something completely different…

  9. Allan Leslie on the 7th July

    Yes, it’s all good stuff, and I would have used quite a few of these, but it all changes when you’ve been out of work for a while. I’d do anything to be sitting in front of an office computer again!

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