My content marketing manager, Clara, is guest-writing on the blog today! Enjoy her tips on how to use your lunch break well.
When I was in college, I don’t think I realized just how much time I had to wander, unwind and build relationships. (And what a luxury it was to sleep until 9 am every day.)
Adventure, relationships and time to reflect were automatically built into my day. The distance between campus and my house was a long, meditative walk. Since all of my friends lived within a one-mile radius, I never had to eat dinner alone. I could work from the neighborhood coffee shop or the secret second level of the Art Library. Even though I had hundreds of assignments to juggle, most of my time was completely my own, and I didn’t have to try very hard to make time to unwind and feed my soul.
Now, as a full-time content marketer and a part-time wedding planner (at least that’s what it feels like preparing for my own wedding in the fall) all of those ambling hours are condensed into one in the middle of my workday. Although I work for a company who really values their employees’ personal goals and well-being (shout-out to Curtis and Elle!), making the most of my lunch hour is up to me. So, I’ve decided to be more vigilant about my lunch hour by using it in ways that recharge my mind and feeds my soul.
Whether you’re new to full-time work like me or whether you’ve been at it for most of your life, I encourage you first and foremost to really take a break for lunch. (Yes, get up from your desk and go somewhere!) Second, use your break to bring yourself joy. Here’s how to use your lunch break so that you feed your body and your soul.
1. Leave your laptop on your desk.
Seriously. You can bring your phone, but if you end up working on your lunch break, you’re defeating the whole purpose. Slack and email will survive without you!
2. Listen to Podcasts
Just being honest—as the introvert that I am, I spend some of my lunch breaks sitting in my car. Lately though, I’ve been listening to podcasts while I eat. It’s difficult for me to sacrifice singing along to music on my commute, so a lunch break podcast is the perfect compromise for me. Long live car concerts!
3. Read at a Coffee Shop
Make it your goal to read for 30 minutes of your lunch break every day. I’ve read a number of books this way since I started full-time in January, and it’s the perfect way to enjoy the coffee shop atmosphere without a laptop. Bonus points if you read a book that inspires you to use your creative gifts!
4. Do what makes you happy.
Birds make me happy. There is a PetSmart just down the road from our office with the cutest red-beaked finches. Guess how I spent my lunch break last Friday?
5. Call an old friend.
One of my dearest college friends lives in another state, and so once a month, we spend our lunch breaks talking. It’s a lovely way to keep in touch without having to coordinate evening schedules.
6. Take a Walk
Let this walk be a slow, meditative walk at a nearby park or even around your office building. The bit of exercise you’ll get is such a side benefit—this is about clearing your head, noticing the changing seasons and feeling the wind on your face.
7. Choose a Project
Maybe it’s a scarf you’re crocheting, a sketchbook you’re filling, or a blog that only you know about. Use your break to put a drop in the bucket of your creative self-expression!
8. Do Yoga
OK, disclaimer on this one. So far, I’ve just tried deep breathing in my car and prayer + meditation. I have yet to find a feasible way to Vinyasa in a coffee shop without being asked to leave. BUT, if you can find a way to stretch and strengthen on your lunch break, more power to you. (Also, can you teach me your ways?)
How do YOU spend your lunch break to recharge? How do you want to use it to recharge more? I’d love to hear your ideas! And as always, we’d love to have you join us in Elle’s Facebook Group, Creative Uncovery.