By Jen Smith Career 9 ideas to shake up your lunch break 11 May 2015 Admit it – 80% of the time you eat your lunch at your desk or browsing Instagram on your phone. Occasionally you’ll step outside your work space and breathe in some fresh air as you head to your favourite cafe but this is the exception rather than the rule. That’s if you even take a lunch break. Now, I’m not going to get all virtuous about why you should take a break, because frankly, you don’t need me or anyone else telling you what you already know. It’s good for you and you should do it more. So instead, I’m going to dare you to pick one day this week where you do something different, and shake up your lunchtime routine. If it feels good, pick another day and do something different. And another, and another, until your lunch breaks become fun, interesting and an actual break from work. Here are some ideas to help you on your way: 1. Take a lunchtime lecture Expand your mind, learn something or discover a new perspective. Art galleries, museums, libraries and universities host really awesome mini-lectures you can drop in on, and not just in big cities like London. Google ‘lunchtime lectures in xxxx’ and see what comes up near you. 2. Go raving Lunch times raves, a hit in Sweden with weary workers, are coming to the UK and picking up in popularity. Find yourself in a darkened warehouse, with a DJ and some beats and dance the hour away. Strictly no alcohol or talking about your job, just dancing and having fun. You couldn’t get a bigger contrast in your day. Check out: Lunch Beat 3. Call a relative Whenever I think about calling my Grandma, it’s usually too late and I know she’ll be in bed. Then, when the weekend comes, the plans I’ve made get in the way of picking up the phone. Lunchtimes however, are the perfect time to catch up with your elderly relatives who don’t work. So escape the office and delight your family with a phone call. You’ll feel more connected, and you’ll have made their day. 4. Get your hair done This one isn’t just for the ladies by the way. Most offices are near to shops and hairdressers and a cut and blow-dry won’t take more than 60 mins. So why not book yourself in for some self-care and feel the luxury of having your head massaged, your locks tamed and going back into the office looking even more refreshed than you did in the morning. Check out Hershesons, Headmasters or Electric Liverpool. 5. Meditate, or seek silent solace Offices are busy and pretty noisy places. Take a break from the buzz and find somewhere peaceful to quieten your mind. You could meditate in the park (try the Headspace app if you’re new to meditating) or find a local church or spiritual centre to sit and ponder life. Even if you’re not religious, most places will welcome you and the atmosphere is often enough to find a moment to chill. 6. Take a guided walk Does your town or city have walking guides? Well, don’t let the tourists have all the fun. Reconnect with where you live and work and learn something new or see a different side to it by taking a walking tour during your lunch break. Or, if you don’t want to join a crowd, go to your local tourist office and grab a map and follow a guide on your own. 7. Volunteer Scientists say we get a huge hit of dopamine (the hormone that makes us happy) when we help other people. Why not see if you can help out at a local charity or food bank during your lunch break, or go and keep someone who’s lonely company and have a chat with them for half an hour. We promise you’ll be back at your desk with a big smile on your face knowing you’ve helped another human being instead of whiling the hour away pinning pretty things on Pinterest. 8. Make lunchtime naptime Short 20 minute naps can boost your productivity in the afternoon and help you avoid the 3pm slump and reaching for the coffee and the biscuits. So find somewhere quiet – a park, empty conference room or find a local sleep pod/rest room that’s designed to give you the perfect space to snooze – they’re popping up in major cities around the world. 9. Check off a personal errand Been meaning to change your bank or clear out some junk? Why not use your lunch break to tick off a to-do from your personal list, so you’ve more time in the evenings and weekends to enjoy yourself? You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and be less likely to resent work for stopping you live your life. Leave a Comment Once you’ve chosen your favoured lunchtime shakeup, come back and let us know how it felt, what you got from doing something different and what you’re going to do next. Hate your job and fancy yourself as a freelancer? You want to say hello to Jen, our guest contributor with a passion for going for your dreams. When Jen isn’t writing for us about starting a biz, she’s hanging out with her tabby cat Monty and coaching women to quit their jobs and take the leap. She likes jigsaws, cheese, books and crafts and loves nothing more than the feeling of sunshine on her face. Has been known to throw Zumba-moves in front of her idols. Jen Smith coaches entrepreneurs in social media.