Make the most out of your lunch break

Find yourself glued to the desk at work? Discover how to make the most out of your lunch break with these easy tips. 

By Tara Nolan

How to make the most of your lunch break

Does your idea of a lunch hour consist of dropping crumbs into your keyboard as you grab a bite at your workstation? "Exercise, stretch and get some fresh air," advises workplace consultant Tema Frank, "and try to expand your network of contacts."

Leaving your desk for even a half-hour will revitalize your energy to tackle the afternoon ahead. You'll also find you're more productive after a brief break.

Follow these simple recipes to spice up your lunch hour -- your mind and body will thank you.

De-stress yourself
Check out the fitness clubs in your area for aerobic or yoga classes that are offered over the noon hour. Many companies provide these services right in their building. If you don't have that much time, take a walk. Either way you will return to your desk feeling energized.

Free your time
Laurene Livesey Park, a professional organizer in Ontario, suggests using the lunch hour to plan your meals so you don't have to scramble around trying to find ingredients or recipes to prepare for dinner. It's also a good opportunity to make an appointment to speak to your child's teacher since they can't see you during class time.

Get pampered
Indulge in a half-hour massage to work out those kinks from sitting at a desk all morning or schedule a 20-minute manicure. These guilty little pleasures will not only relax you, but make the afternoon more tolerable.

Phone a friend
Call up one of your gal pals or round up some of your friends from the office and arrange a lunch date. "Women tend to be very focussed on their work," says Frank. "It's a mistake to not spend time inside and outside the office talking to people and finding out what they're doing. The key to corporate success is getting yourself known and you can't do that by staying at your desk."

Picnic in the park
Keep a small blanket by your desk for those beautiful days when you long to be outdoors enjoying the hot summer weather. Pack an interesting lunch from home and find a comfortable patch of grass.

Multi-task
Make yourself a list of little errands you can accomplish on your lunch break with time to spare for eating. "If you live in the suburbs and work in the city, it's a great time to accomplish things that can't be done where you live," explains Livesey Park.

Walk to the bank and pay some bills, write in your journal, or try on that cute little dress you saw while window-shopping. This will leave your evenings open to spend time with family or to unwind from a long day at the office.

Simply relax
Bring a book or buy a newspaper and settle onto a park bench, under a tree, or in your lunchroom if it's a gloomy day. This is a great opportunity to catch up on your reading in peace.

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