It’s finally happened. You’ve finally landed yourself a gig that gives you an hour-long lunch break, like the true adult professional you are. The first time I was blessed with such a gesture was in my current role as a pharmacy assistant.
And the real assets of this extra free time were totally lost on me. But, in the months (and years!) that followed, I came to optimise that blissful hour, instead of mindlessly whiling it away by scrolling through social media. Today, in true ENID big sis spirit, I’ll be sharing some ways on how you can best use your precious hour too.
1. Call the fam
No, really. Amongst the hectic tornado of holding down two jobs while studying full time and living away from family, my relationships fell by the wayside a little, particularly with my parents. Once I made a point to schedule a call at the beginning of my lunch break every week, I could stop stressing about forgetting to check-in.
Still living at home? Then why not call another family member or a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while?
2. Put down the phone (after finishing that phone call, obvs)
I think we can all agree that the last thing we need during what is supposed to be a break from a hectic workday is more stress – so stop yourself from scrolling through social media!
If you’re worried about missing something important, you could check your notifications to address anything urgent (sh*t, that wedding/party/miscellaneous gatho is tomorrow?!) and then set your phone aside. That viral TikTok can wait.
3. Go for a walk
Complaining about being stuck inside on yet another beautiful Saturday? Then this is the perfect time to clear your head!
All dolled up for work and not too keen on getting sweaty? Then take your lunch to a nearby green space, or at the very least, a bench outside. Fresh air does wonders for all workers, whether you’re restless from retail, or need to stretch after a half-day behind the desk.
4. Take a mindful moment
Mindfulness is one of those words that gets thrown around all too often, but is still largely misunderstood.
Mindfulness is not the same as meditation. You don’t need to sit on the floor in half-lotus to be mindful. Mindfulness, at least how Marsha Linehan conceived of it when she designed Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, is simply about being present. It could be as simple as paying attention to your breath, to the sensation of air moving in and out of your lungs as you inhale and exhale – even for just a minute.
A great grounding exercise I learned during my lengthy foray into DBT is the rule of five: name and describe five things you can see, four you can hear, three you can touch, two you can smell and one that you can taste (probably your lunch). Check out this guide to being mindful from SANE Australia.
5. Tick a book off your ever-growing reading list
Like I said in my first point, holding down two jobs while also studying doesn’t typically leave one with a lot of free time. And I don’t know about you, but at the end of a long day of study, my brain is often too fried to pick up my current book, no matter how riveting. Instead, I like to dedicate some of my lunch break to reading. That way, I will always be reading for pleasure at least once a week.
Find yourself two chapters ahead of where you were previously, but can’t remember a word of what you read? Bonus exercise from my previous point: really concentrate on what you’re reading as another way to practice mindfulness.
Are you one of those people who can basically nap on command?
I’m very jealous.
If the very thought of going back to work after an hour of relaxing exhausts you, then maybe take a quick power nap, if there is somewhere suitable to do so. Just be sure to keep it to twenty minutes max to ensure you return to work refreshed!
Well gals and pals, there you have it! Six ways to make better use of an hour-long lunch break, none of which involve mindless scrolling through social media.