Working life balance by Jane McClenaghan
After over a year in lockdown, many of us have become used to multitasking and using our kitchen table as an office desk. Lunch breaks are not what they used to be, and on busy days when we’re working from home, it can seem so much easier to keep working than to take a proper break.
Although it sounds counterintuitive, it is well known that taking regular breaks can improve our productivity. Even a few minutes out of your working day and away from the laptop can help revive your energy, recentre your focus and help you feel more productive in the afternoon.
Think of your lunch break as a time to recharge your batteries and refuel your body and brain. A little time out in the middle of your day to help you take on the afternoon feeling better energised and more inspired.
Make the most of your lunch break
- Notice nature - get away from your screens (and that includes your phone screen) and get outside. Going for a walk around the block, getting out into the garden for 10 minutes or hanging the washing out will help rebalance the your screen time. Getting outside could also help your sleep, as research shows that exposure to daylight in the early part of the day helps re-set our sleep-wake cycle, helping us to have a more refreshing night’s sleep.
- Use your lunch break to take some exercise. Whether you go for a walk, do an online class or go for a bike ride, being more active at lunchtime will leave you feeling more energised and refreshed in the afternoon. It doesn’t have to take long - even a short 20 minute burst will do the trick.
- Enjoy your lunch. Take time to make yourself a healthy, nourishing lunch, then sit down, relax and enjoy every mouthful. I’d recommend making lunch a couple of times a week, but make enough to do 2 or 3 days, so you always have something tasty and nourishing in the fridge. Super salads, mini frittatas or a pot of soup are ideal, and can be eaten over a couple of days.
- Plant something - Buy yourself a packet of seeds and get growing. Even better if you grow something you can eat. Salad mixes or rocket seeds are a good place to start.
- Get a head start on dinner - chop some vegetables, marinate some meat, or get some ingredients into the pot to save yourself time and effort at the end of your busy day.
Taking a break in the middle of the day will help you go back to your desk (or kitchen table!) feeling refreshed and energised for your afternoon’s work.
Working life balance
Drawing a line between our work life and our home life is important for our wellbeing and mental health, even if your desk is in the corner of your bedroom or at your kitchen table, so it is also important to switch off at the end of your working day and remind yourself that your work and your home life are separate.
For some people this could be sitting down to a cup of tea, for others it could be making dinner or doing some exercise. Do your best to make sure your work time doesn’t spill over into your evening downtime. We all need to decompress, to take time out to switch off, revitalise and refresh ourselves.