11 Things You Can Do on Your Lunch Break to Change Your Life

by Paul Michael on 28 January 2014 2 comments

Depending on where you work and what your role actually is, the time you have to eat lunch could vary. The standard break is an hour, but these days people are so busy they take 30 minutes or even less. Let's say that you have around 30 minutes to spare, after you've eaten. Depending on what your life is lacking, here are a few ways to make positive changes in very small, simple ways.

1. Drink One Glass of Water

We all know the benefits of drinking water, and many of us have told ourselves for years that we need to drink more. But, so often we forget or grab a coffee or can of soda instead. Take just a few minutes before eating lunch to hydrate and also fill your stomach a little bit before eating. You'll eat less, you'll feel better, and if you drink tap water, it costs you nothing at all. (See also: Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles)

2. Train Your Brain

Many people (myself included) like to think of lunchtime as down time. We eat, we chat, we laugh, and we complain, but we let our brains go on autopilot for a while. Why not use this time to keep your brain sharp? There are free apps you can download that really put your brain through the ringer, with tests challenging your speed, accuracy, and lateral thinking. Or you can take up a crossword or Sudoku puzzle. These tests and activities can also help to prevent, or delay, Alzheimer's Disease.

3. Try a New Food

We are creatures of habit, and we're also afraid of wasting our money. Trying something new means risking your money on a food you won't like. Or worse still, something you'll hate. But you never know if you're missing out on a new favorite. It's also a wonderful way to connect with others. It's such a small, easy way to really broaden your scope and experience, and as eating is a major part of our lives, isn't it worth taking the chance to discover something delicious?

4. Connect With Someone

One of the greatest ways to make yourself feel better if you're feeling bummed out is to make someone else feel great. You know the old saying,  "it's better to give than to receive." Well, while it may not ring true for an eight-year-old on Christmas day, it becomes more and more applicable as we get older. Just paying someone a compliment when you're interacting with them, be it a checkout attendant or a bank clerk, can completely transform their day. If someone at the office is looking a little lonely and stressed, give them your attention. Have coffee in the kitchen. Maybe see if they'd like a companion for lunch. Give the best of yourself to the world, and the world will give it back to you. (See also: How Nice People Can Get Ahead)

5. Try One-Minute Meditation

We've all heard of the benefits of meditation, but it can seem like a daunting task. However, there are lots of very simple, step-by-step videos on YouTube that can help you learn to meditate. You can also find soothing music there for free. Once you get in the habit, taking the time to center yourself daily could reap rewards in your career and your personal life.

6. Keep a Journal

It doesn't have to be anything impressively long and grandiose. Just write 50–60 words every day about what you're feeling or what you have planned. Maybe you have an idea for a movie or TV show. Write it down. Perhaps it's poetry or a song. You will soon find yourself looking for inspiration everywhere and looking for things to be grateful for. And you may be surprised where this can lead you. Who knows, maybe you're the next JK Rowling.

7. Do Five-Minute Organizations

Is the desk drawer in your office just crammed and disorganized? Is the junk drawer at home a complete wreck? Well, most of the time we ignore it, but that just makes the problem worse, and we waste time every time we try to find something in that abyss. Using just five minutes of your lunch hour to organize little things like that will make your days and weeks run more smoothly. (See also: 25 Easy Organizing Changes)

8. Practice a Musical Instrument

Ask every music teacher out there about practicing, they'll tell you the same thing; even five minutes of practice every day can reap many benefits. And it's way better than binge-practicing, doing one hour once a week. Whether it's a guitar, a flute, or even a keyboard you download on your iPad or PC, those five minutes a day are valuable. They establish connections in the brain that make the next five-minute practice easier and more productive.

9. Exercise

You don't have to lift weights or run track. There are plenty of exercises that you can do at your desk or around the place of business. A simple, brisk walk around the building can burn calories and make you feel better. A few pushups in your office is perfectly acceptable, easy enough to do, and is a great way to work out. Of course, don't go mad; you don't want to be dripping with sweat in your work clothes. (See also: 10 Exercises to Do at Work)

10. Learn a Language

You can get books and audio CDs for free from your local library. Spend just 30 minutes a day practicing this, and within a year you could have a few languages under your belt. In today's much smaller world, those skills will come in very handy, and could open up a world of opportunities for you and your career.

11. Make Those 30 Minutes Yours

If everything else on this list seems too much to handle, try doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. Turn off your cell phone. Leave the office. Don't watch TV or listen to the radio. Don't read a book. Just take some time to go off the grid, even if it's just for 10 minutes. That complete freedom is exhilarating and can even get addictive.

How do you spend your lunch hour?

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Guest's picture

What I usually do is catch up on some news headlines for 5 minutes and then read my favorite PF blogs to see what everyone else is up to.

Does that count?

Guest's picture

Can you recommend some free apps (from number 2)?