Make use of that lunch hour!
Now, don’t get me wrong. If I was telling people to cut out eating yesterday’s leftovers and scrolling through Instagram, I’d be the biggest hypocrite going. We’re all guilty of spending our lunchtime glued to our phone screens, and while that’s okay–hell, we needed some kind of interaction during lockdown–it’s always beneficial to mix up how you spend your free time. So, on your lunch hour, if you’re feeling like a short break from your phone after spending the morning trawling through emails, here’s a few mood-boosting ideas.
Go for a walk
However many times you’ve heard this, it doesn’t make it any less true. Going for a walk in the sunshine (if you’re lucky) more often than not gives you a chance to clear your mind ahead of the rest of the day and feel smug about getting some exercise. It counts, alright? Plus, you can just bring that lunch of leftovers with you to eat on a park bench among nature. Win-win.
Get really into yoga
Even if its just a 10-minute yoga workout, you’ll undoubtedly feel some benefit. For those who work from home, sitting in the same position morning prrrooobabbly isn’t doing your back any favours, so crank out a yoga app and perform some relaxing stretches as an afternoon release. We all need some zen energy as we head into the second half of the day. Here’s some ideas for apps if you’re just starting out.
Watch an episode of your favourite show
Lockdown has taught us to appreciate the little things, which often means literally having a brew and whacking on Netflix for a bit of downtime. Over your lunch hour, there’s no reason not to just curl up in a ball and put an episode of your favourite show on the box.
Play a game with your housemates/family/partner
There’s nothing quite like the thrill at trouncing your dad at Scrabble, narrowly outfoxing your pals at Cluedo or emerging triumphant in a quick round of cards. If you can all coordinate your lunch breaks together, you’ll find there’s ample time to fit in a game or two for some light relief and laughs before heading back to the grind.
Alternatively, have a solo game of solitaire or clock patience
If you live alone, or can’t get anyone to join you, then you can still enjoy a bit of time out with the deck of cards. However, hard they may be to win, there’s always fun and satisfaction a round of clock patience/solitaire/your choice of solo card game. It’ll clear the meetings and emails out of your mind and refresh your brain before smashing through the rest of the day.
Read a few chapters of a book
After spending all morning glued to a screen, there’s not many better ways to spend lunch than escaping into the pages of your newest paperback. Whether you’re entering Highsmith’s world of deviance; Fitzgerald’s roaring twenties; Orwell’s dystopian warnings; or Austen’s class critique–pondering over page-turning literature is one of the more rewarding lunchtime activities. Plus, if you pair a book with a sunny local park, you’re winning hard.
Apps like Headspace and Calm are growing in popularity due to the immense help they give to many as they tackle their way through tough working weeks. Taking the time out to meditate for 15 minutes is enough for many to feel the benefits for the rest of the day.
For a lot of us, this may defeat the point of the “break” in lunch break, which is totally fair enough. But for many, going for a run or taking on the exercise bike is an ideal way to shake anxious thoughts about work and life activities. Multiple studies have shown that regular physical exercise can increase our self-esteem, energy and mental alertness while helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Cook your favourite meal
Now, while you may have served yourself a slap up dish last night – in which case, ignore the advice about leftovers – cooking at lunch could give you that boost through the day. If you’re craving a delightful burger and chips combo that no one but you knows how to get right, why wait until the evening? The endorphins from tucking into the meal you crafted yourself are certain to mean you can achieve anything in the afternoon.
Or, just order your favourite takeaway
If like myself, you’re a pretty useless cook – or you’re just short on time – get it delivered! It should provide the same results as the above entry, plus you won’t really have to lift a finger. Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I’ve treated myself to a lunchtime pizza.
Take a nap
Lockdown has been a pretty tough and draining experience, and can wear down the best of us! A cheeky lunchtime nap might help cure some of that tiredness after struggling through the morning, and could hopefully mean a less stressful afternoon at work.
Enjoy a coffee from one of your favourite Dublin coffee shops
Because when in doubt, coffee. One of life’s small pleasures during lockdown has been being able to take a daily walk to grab some freshly brewed coffee to go. Exercise and a caffeine fix… you just can’t go wrong!
Plan your weekend/holidays
You may love your job, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get excited about letting off steam during your precious time off. In fact, taking a much-needed break is incredibly important to keep our stress and burnout levels at a minimum. Chat to your pals during lunch to sort out that weekend bottomless brunch or a summer staycation. The excitement of getting everything booked up will carry you through the remainder of a gruelling week.