Best Way to Refresh Yourself on your Lunch Break at Work

If you work indoors, especially in a sedentary job, make sure you get out at lunchtime even if only for a brisk walk. A change of environment and a bit of fresh air helps put problems in perspective and getting moving can make a huge difference not only by reducing your stress levels, but by boosting your fitness and energy levels.

10 minutes walking and jogging

Walking gets you as fit as running, provided you walk fast, and being outside has a beneficial effect on your whole psyche. Walk briskly for ten minutes, relaxing as you walk by taking deep breaths and walking in rhythm with your breathing, for example four steps to each inhalation, four to each exhalation. For more vigorous exercise alternate walking with jogging. Try to avoid busy, polluted roads and if possible take a scenic route or head for the nearest park, riverside or open space.

Lunch Break at Work Best Way to Refresh Yourself on your Lunch Break at Work

Spend time outdoors

In clement weather make yourself a picnic lunch, or visit the nearest sandwich shop and find a tranquil spot in a local park, garden square or on the banks of a river to eat it. Just being out in the open lowers stress levels, but natural landscapes, if there are any near your place of work, have a particularly calming effect. Practice the food meditation below.

Sit still for ten minutes contemplating your surroundings and absorbing yourself in nature. Become aware of all the sounds, shapes and colours around you, or focus on a particular feature such as a flower, leaf, tree or the sound of birdsong or flowing water. Visualize worries and stress being scattered by the wind or washed away.

Notice how you feel. Your breathing should now be smooth and even, mind and body energized and relaxed.

Retail therapy and flower power

It may seem an unlikely way to relieve stress, but love it or loathe it, shopping and window shopping is nationally one of our favourite ways to spend leisure time and relax. So if lunchtime means a trip to the shops to pick up the groceries, turn it into a therapeutic experience and indulge yourself in a little retail therapy.

Spend ten minutes browsing in your local book shop and pick out any books you that interest you. A good read will provide hours of enjoyable relaxation. Check out design, gadget, antique and second-hand shops for curios and objects. Visualize where you could put them, how you could use them. Mentally redecorate – it keeps your creative juices going. If fashion is your passion, sift through the rails and explore colours and combinations you would never normally wear. You don’t have to buy. Wind up in the florist and treat yourself to a bunch of fresh, fragrant flowers. They are guaranteed to lift your spirits and will provide instant stress relief for days.

Food meditation

This slows you down, improves your digestion, and helps you relax. It also helps you reconnect with the sensuous joys of eating.

To practice food meditation sit somewhere where you will not be dis­turbed or distracted so you can focus on eating and observe the smells, textures and colours of the food on your plate. Then, taking small mouthfuls, chew your food slowly and thoroughly, rolling it around your mouth. Savour the enjoyment as delicious flavours fill your mouth and absorb yourself completely in the pleasures of eating and drinking.

Lunch Break at Work 1 Best Way to Refresh Yourself on your Lunch Break at Work

If you tend to eat fast – a common type A characteristic – practising food meditation will help you create new habits of eating slowly and mindfully. However, to practise food meditation you do not need an entire meal. A bite or two will suffice. Try a piece of raw fruit or vegetable – cauliflower is a surprisingly good choice – or a piece of chocolate. If you completely absorb yourself in the pleasures of chocolate exploding in your taste buds, you will amazed at how satisfied you feel after eating a very small amount!

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