The new opportunities to work from home are a really brilliant thing — it’s a shame it took a pandemic to make businesses realise that actually, their work could be conducted in a more flexible and inclusive way when they let staff work from the comfort of their home.
Although thousands of workers no longer spend their lunch break popping to Pret, zipping around Topshop or mindlessly scrolling through an infinite email inbox, it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden everyone has become super productive or active. It can be really really hard to motivate yourself to get up and do something when you know you only have an hour, but the WFH lunch break is actually a brilliant opportunity to do something either helpful or completely selfish. This lunch time, put your phone down and try one of these lunch break activities instead.
I hate exercise in almost all its forms, but yoga genuinely feels good. There are millions of videos on youtube that even the most inexperienced beginner can follow and practice can last as little as 10 minutes or as long as a whole hour.
Either way, it’s a calming, centring way to spend a lunch break. My favourite online yogi is Adrienne Mischler but you might find someone else you prefer. Either way, give yoga a try on your lunch break for some de-stressing and increased blood flow.
In a similar vein, a lunch break is a brilliant opportunity to begin a meditative practice. The Calm app is a really good place to get started and if you’re at home, then you needn’t feel self conscious the way that you might if you were sitting at your desk in an open plan office… Meditation can calm a busy mind and aid concentration, focus and peacefulness in the afternoon. It’s definitely more relaxing than scrolling instagram or eating al desko.
I know that this probably doesn’t sound hugely exciting, but the idea is, to do a small household job in a spare bit of time which then allows you to regain the free time later on. It doesn’t have to be laundry, it could be that you clean your fridge, dust all your shelves, hoover your stairs- whatever it is, you won’t have to worry about it later on. This will make your day time more fruitful and your evening longer and more enjoyable.
I know that lots of people find it really difficult to read a lot, or they think they can’t read quickly enough, or they get distracted too easily. Well, I am here to tell you that the only way to get better at reading is to practice. Make it a habit. I read loads and loads, but whenever I have a couple of very busy weeks, I always need to make myself get back into the habit.
Reading is so important, so useful for cognitive function. It’s genuinely good for you. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Dedicate a percentage of your lunch time everyday to reading. Half an hour five days a week will soon add up. And you’ll find that you read at the weekends too I expect, and in the evening. It’s a healthy addiction but it takes some effort to get hooked.
The Open University have a plethora of free courses available for study online. Each course tells you how long it takes to complete so you could choose something you could finish in a week of lunch breaks or something that takes as long as a month. Either way, you will be enriching your life, learning about something new and giving your brain a break from Microsoft excel and bcc/ccing.
Read next: 12 apps for learning something new this year
Leah is Culture Editor @ No Majesty. Leah is a literature graduate from Bristol, likes include: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, My So Called Life, Goodfellas, and Ally McBeal.