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Although the majority of us are entitled to a lunch break, actually taking one can be guilt-inducing for those who work in an environment where a working lunch is encouraged. Multi-tasking our way through lunch by trying to eat whilst taking phone calls and sifting through emails may feel like the best way to get through everything at once, but this will only have a negative effect on our health and wellbeing.
Taking advantage of that hour out of our working dayto focus on ourselves and press the reset button is an important practice that has been scientifically proven to increase levels of productivity and brain activity, allowing the mind to digest the morning's activities and recharge our batteries, ready for the afternoon ahead.
Need some inspiration for ways to spend your lunch break? Head of Yoga at FLY LDN (www.flyldn.co.uk) Fi Clark, suggests 7 rejuvenating ways to spend your lunchtime that involves a change of scenery.
1. Find a lunchtime yoga class
As our love for fitness grows, more and more gyms are offering sessions that are convenient for work schedules, allowing people enough time to get to the gym from their office, change, shower, change and then get back to work. Yoga is a great way to unwind and shut off from work and makes you feel energised, focussed and clear headed again to be able to perform better in the afternoon. Yoga can also help lower anxiety and stress levels, whilst boosting brainpower and happiness. Try an immersive and sensory yoga class, which offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of your working day.
At FLY LDN, a brand new yoga and low impact training studio in the heart of Aldgate, London, we offer a 45 minute lunchtime session equipped with a high spec AV screen and surround sound that takes you mentally from the street to the mat as quickly as it does physically. Users can get lost in the beautifully curated video content which consists of babbling brooks, beach sunsets and sunny meadow scenes. As the working masses are growing more aware and conscious of their health requirements in order to live a happy and fulfilling life, more people are getting hooked on yoga as a welcome way to switch off and restore. If you can't access a yoga studio in your lunch break, then there are plenty of videos that you can follow online, all you need to do is find a quiet space in your office!
2. Read a Book
For pleasure or education, lunch time is the perfect time to read a chapter. Finding somewhere quiet, either inside or out, and taking the time to read with your phone on silent and out of sight is a great way of improving mental focus. Our levels of concentration diminish rapidly throughout the day, so reading a book is the ultimate lunch time activity for those who suffer from brain fog in the afternoon. Reading also takes you into a fantasy world where the creative side of your brain can develop and grow, allowing you an escape from the do-list in the office.
3. Find a spot of natural beauty
A change in scenery focuses your brain on a different environment. Whether that be a green space, the river or a pond where you can be around the sounds, smells and visuals of nature, this is an instant fix to get you feeling relaxed and at peace during a busy day.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be sat cross legged for hours, chanting, in order to meditate! Mediation can be practiced anywhere and everywhere, whether that be in a quiet spot in the office or whilst you're out and about. There are many different ways to practice meditation, but one of the easiest is to master mindfulness. All you need to do is concentrate on what you're doing in the moment, such as following the journey of the breath in and out of the body and observing how the body gently adjusts to the intake and expel of breath. When you're out for lunch, try focussing on the steps of your feet and what's going on around you. This will allow you to rid your mindof stress and banish any anxious thoughts. There are also many highly recommended apps that offer guided meditation, my personal favourite is Head Space, which leaves me feeling calm and ready to take on whatever the day throws at me.
5. Get creative
Another side to meditation is mandala adult colouring in books, which have become a very popular platform for people wanting stress relief and a screen break. The circular shapes ofmandalashave the power to calm the mind, balance the energies of your body, promote relaxation and enhance your creativity. The notion of focusing on the colouring in and choosing colours to help take the mind away from work for a break is very appealing to a lot of people who find it difficult to meditate with eyes closed in the more traditional way.
6. Write letters or postcards to old friends and family
Sadly, writing letters is a dying pastime now as it's not a necessity to communicate through handwritten word. Not only can writing a letter to a loved one be very therapeutic, it's also a welcome surprise to receive one too. Taking time at lunch to write will give your brain a break and has longer lasting effects of feeling good once the recipient has received their letter too.