I have a love/hate relationship with my lunch breaks during the week. I love it because I get the time to get away from my desk and be free to do what I want for an hour. I hate it because I don’t have the luxury of having many people to eat lunch with very often.
I’m fortunate to live close to my workplace so I have the option of going home during my break. This past year I took advantage of going home during my hour of solitude and getting a few things done while grabbing something out of my refrigerator.
The past few months, however, I’ve grown tired of it. I enjoy the opportunity to go home but I found that I would sit at my dining room table, eat the same thing every day, and have my head bent over my phone until it was time to go back to work.
This year I’ve made a commitment to myself to look at my lunch break in a new way. I want that hour to be a time of taking care of myself mentally.
Visit A New Restaurant
I hate eating by myself. I don’t judge others who do it but I always feel judged in my head if I go into a restaurant and sit at a table by myself. During my year of being fearless I decided that I would tackle this self-initiated fear. A new coffee bar opened up last year right in historic downtown Perry called Bodega Brew. It’s a small bistro that offer small plates for lunch and a variety of coffee and pastries. It looked cozy so I went one day for lunch all by myself.
It was fantastic. I sat at a high top table near the front window and ordered the most delicious ham and swiss sandwich. Even though I did spend a few minutes scrolling on my phone I made myself look around at the decor and people watch through the window. I didn’t experienced the fear of being judged for being alone. In fact, there were two other women there by themselves working on their laptops. I felt right at home. I bought a chocolate latte (so yummy!) after I finished my lunch and walked back to my car. I realized how relaxed I felt. It was a great feeling just taking the time to be by myself and try something new. And now I found a favorite new spot to grab lunch or a coffee!
Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill during your lunch break is easy. I found a new app a few years ago called Skillshareh. It has online classes for anything you can imagine. You can watch demonstrations on anything from leadership to flower arranging. They even have classes that are specifically designed to last a “lunch hour.” You can view many classes for free or pay a small monthly fee to view some of the more intense classes. I’ve watched classes on photography, graphic design, and personal branding. Learning a new skill with these creative workshops is definitely more fun than scrolling through Facebook for an hour.
YouTube is also a great source to learn something new! Everything I know how to do in Photoshop, Illustrator, and video editing I learned through YouTube tutorials! Best of all…they’re free 🙂
Go Outside – Like For Real
I often see the articles that say you should step outside at least once during your workday to get fresh air and clear your mind. Yeah, I don’t do that. I either feel guilty about leaving my desk or get caught up in a project where I don’t want to leave my workspace until I get to a stopping point. Your lunch break is a perfect time to do this. I have a colleague that has her own personal table and chair and eats outside when the weather is nice. We have picnic tables outside at work but her setup is the cutest and definitely inviting. If I do go home for lunch I try to take it outside on my back porch when the weather permits. Fresh air is a great stress reliever and the sounds of chirping birds can be a mood booster.
Brainstorm and Write it Down
This is one of my favorite things to do. I bought a unicorn notebook that I carry around in my purse for the random thoughts that come into my head during the day. If you’re like me you have a ton going on in your mind at once. It helps me to write my ideas in my special notebook to clear them out of my head. I jot down anything that inspires me. Blog post ideas, quotes that have meaning to me, gratitude lists, and anything else that I feel is important. It’s not a calendar. I have a separate planner for things I have to get done. This notebook is specifically for my creative ideas and things I want to do someday. It’s nice to have this space to empty my mind out so I can make room for the things I need to be focused on during the day.
Explore Your City
I did this during a recent outing in historic downtown Perry which is only a few streets over from my workplace. I love it there. I was feeling especially down one day and a slow stroll through Carroll Street was a great way to refocus my mind and enjoy my surroundings. Is there a specific place you’ve always heard about nearby your work? Maybe it’s a park or a visitor center that you’ve always drove past and never stopped at. Experiencing the town your work or live in as a tourist can give you a new perspective and appreciation for a place you grind day after day.