When I was asked recently (via a campaign from Barclaycard) to share a personal recommendation relating to summer, I knew instantly what I wanted to write about. Over the last couple of weeks, two of my friends at work and I have been making efforts to ‘love our lunchbreak’ – that is, getting out and getting some good old fresh air and sunshine (as well as having a natter and an occasional ice lolly!)
I read recently that over 60% of adults admit to eating their lunch at their desk at least once a week, and well over a quarter to taking less than the legal 20 minute break. I am definitely guilty of eating my lunch at my desk on a fairly regular occasion, whilst continuing to do work. But I always feel better when I’ve made the effort to leave my desk and eat my lunch elsewhere. I feel even better still if I go for a walk or leave the site where I work – it feels like I’ve given myself a proper opportunity to switch off and relax, and I feel more refreshed when I get back to my desk.
And really, I have no excuse. Far from the huge grey tower blocks that used to surround my workplace in Southampton city centre, I now work within spitting distance of the beach. And a really beautiful one too – it has cliff tops with amazing views, a nature reserve, pastel painted beach huts and a lovely little beach café – I really am blessed to work where I do.
This week, the plan du jour has been – bring flip flops, sunglasses and a packed lunch. 1pm is beach time, and the three of us having been plonking ourselves down on the beach, tucking into our sandwiches and having a good gossip. Kate and Emma even went for a paddle on Monday (I forgot my flip-flops and couldn’t be bothered to take my mega strappy Clarks sandals off – fail!)
Here are a few photos from Tuesday’s lunchbreak…
We’ve also decided that (maybe not in this heat), we’re going to set up a running club and go for runs either at lunchtimes or after work. It made me realise how many fun things there are that you can do on your lunchbreak, especially in the summer when the weather’s as glorious as it has been lately. You could pack a picnic in a cool bag and go to a nearby field/park/grassy knoll and enjoy it with a few workmates – you could even take it in turns to pack the picnic so you’re not always the sandwich maker! Even if you usually take solo lunchbreaks it’s good just to get outside – read a book, go for a walk, take a notebook and write some lists, go exploring, etc. (Go get an ice lolly!)
So, my recommendation for summer is to use your 30 minutes, or hour, or however long, wisely. Most of us only get two full days a week to enjoy the beautiful weather so we should seize these other moments to get outside and enjoy it. Not only is it good to have that break from being tethered to your desk (or whatever form your ‘office’ takes!) it’s good for your health to get your heart beating and go out and get active. The energetic amongst you could even go for a short gym session, a swim or just do a few squats or a Nike Training Club workout. (Sounds a bit too much like hard work to me, I’ll take a Twister instead…)
I’d love to hear some ideas from you as to how you ‘love your lunchbreaks’ – what are you recommendations for making the most of them?