When you’re cooped up at work, it can seem like ages go by until the clock strikes 5pm. Don’t just spend your day wishing you could do something fun after work is over! There are tons of things that you can do on your lunch break that will shake up your ordinary routine, and inject some positivity into your work day.
Over time, these little actions can morph into life-changing habits if you get into a routine of doing them often. After all, it only takes 30 days to build a new habit. Imagine what you could do if you chose to use each lunch break in a positive way every single day for a month- the possibilities are truly endless!
Investigate the arts scene in your city
There are plenty of arts organizations who host lunchtime events, like concerts, or offer cheaper admission during the daytime. These events often feature newcomers to the business as a way of showcasing their talents while leaving the coveted evening slots to the bigger-name performers.
In a few years, these artists will be the ones bringing in huge audiences every night, so take advantage of every chance to see and hear talented newcomers in a more intimate setting before they hit the big time.
Next time you have a free lunch hour, check the listings at the local symphony hall, or opera house, to see if they have any daytime concerts running. Sometimes these events are even free.
Even if you only get 30 minutes for lunch, that’s enough time to take a brisk jog around the block, or lift some light weights. If you make a habit of working out a few times a week for a short period of time, your body will start to crave the energy high that you get immediately post-workout, and you may find yourself at the gym more and more often.
If you don’t get a long lunch hour, make it a point to push yourself as hard as you can for the time you do have to take full advantage of every minute!
Take a walk in the park
A study released recently has shown that frequent exposure to nature improves mental health. With more than 80% of the world living in urbanized areas, the lack of green spaces in cities has become more and more of an issue in recent years.
Simply soaking up the sun’s rays is a nice easy way to expose yourself to Vitamin D, which can help reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Even if it’s cold out, taking your lunch outside to the local park, or taking a stroll in a green area will almost always improve your mood.
Catch up on some errands
This one may not be as exciting as some of the others on this list, but taking care of some errands during your day can free you up in the evening and lighten your stress level during afternoon crunch time.
The less you have to worry about getting done after 5pm, the more you can relax in the evening. Plus, you never want to be the last person in the huge express checkout line because you forgot to pick up the one ingredient you needed to make dinner.
Learn a new language
New websites like Duolingo have made learning a new language super easy, and fun too! By splitting the lessons up into bite-sized chunks, and focusing on conversational basics early on, you start seeing results right away.
If you’re eating in frequently all you need is half an hour a day to do a couple of lessons, and you’ll be a speaking a new language in no time. Duolingo offers tons of different options, from French to Turkish, and even Esperanto!
Try some new food
Is there a restaurant that you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t been able to work up the nerve? Maybe it’s just a bit above your price point, or maybe it’s a cuisine that you’re wary of trying.
Next time you find a new restaurant that intrigues you, go there for lunch. Lunch prices are usually a few dollars cheaper, which means you can try something new without shelling out premium dinner prices.
Get to know someone new
The staff break room can be a stressful place if you don’t know anyone at the office yet. On your next lunch break, make a point of talking to someone who just joined the company, or who you don’t know yet.
Offering kindness to a stranger is a great habit to start practicing, and it really doesn’t take much to make a positive impact on someone else’s day.
Try a new skill
Any lunch break, even if it’s over an hour long, can easily be squandered if you spend it looking at cute cat videos online. Use your next lunch break to teach yourself a new skill, or learn something obscure. Youtube is full of short, informative videos that break new concepts down in a super helpful way, and make it easy to learn at your own pace.
With our busy schedules, it’s easy to insist that we simply don’t have time to simply stop for 20 minutes every day. Between work, making dinner, or catching up with friends and family, it’s often hard to find time to spend in meditation. However, if you start incorporating it into your time at work, you may find it easier. Start spending time on your lunch break meditating, and soon you’ll start associating your lunch hour with relaxation.
Make some new connections
During your next lunch break, try to connect with someone that you might not see every day. Whether that means meeting up with an old friend for a lunch date, or seeking out a mentor at work for some one-on-one time, try to make your break count. Even if it’s just a friend in a different part of the building, soak up sweet socializing time before you have to get back to the grind.