Tricks & Tips

Six tips for a healthy lunch break from the pros

Lots of work and limited time? Put your lunch break to good use by learning to relax. We asked two personal trainers for their top tips.

Svenja and Marleen from Greenbodycamp understand how important a lunch break can be in setting you up for the rest of the day. Here’s what they say.

1. Describe a lunch break that leaves you with ample energy for the rest of the day.

The best breaks are conscious breaks. Take time to really enjoy your food. Don’t eat anything too heavy or you’ll be left wanting a nap. Delicious fresh ingredients leave you with ample energy to return to work feeling upbeat and revived.

2. I only have half an hour for lunch and could easily check my emails while I’m eating. Is that good time management or not?

A break should be exactly what is says: a break! Enjoy your time away from the office – however short it may be. Never check emails or eat at your desk. A lunch break is a time to switch off, savour your food and clear your head. Go outside for some fresh air and get your circulation going. You’ll be much more productive and relaxed afterwards.

3. What are the classic mistakes people make at lunch time?

1. Cravings: If you skip breakfast and end up feeling famished at lunchtime, you’re more likely to succumb to the temptation of fast food. Start the day with something healthy or, if you can’t face breakfast, pack a power snack like nuts, fresh or dried fruit to eat mid-morning.

2. Cheating: Gobbling down lunch while checking work emails or scrolling through your Facebook timeline is not classed as relaxing! The best thing to do is leave your phone on your desk, grab some fresh air and focus on allowing your mind and body to rest.

3. Fast food: Lunch breaks are often short and don’t leave much time for eating, meaning many of us reach for fast food because it’s easy. But there are lots of healthy alternatives to greasy, fried food that are served just as quickly.

4. Desk dining: We separate our work and private lives so why not apply the same principle to eating? Find a quiet spot, preferably outdoors if the weather allows. Take along a colleague or two, or enjoy a quiet moment of solitude. Chat about something other than work too.

4. A marathon meeting and my colleagues want to order food in. What are the best options?

There are loads of great caterers online. After a long, arduous meeting you’ll need something to leave you feeling revived and ready to take on the rest of the day. Try a colourful seasonal salad packed with vitamins. Couscous, quinoa and other grains release energy slowly preventing any crashes in the afternoon. Listen to what your body asks for and then order it.

5. What are you top tips for freeing your mind and loosening a tight neck after a stressful day at work?

Sport. An outdoor work-out is the best stress buster. High intensity interval training – with or without equipment, alone or in a group. Don’t forget to stretch properly afterwards and integrate a cool-down after you’ve worked up a sweat. Lay down in the grass for a couple of minutes, inhale deeply and listen to your body. Those good at their jobs create a healthy distance between their work and private life and know how to look after themselves. Concentrate on your work-out and allow everything else to take a back seat.

6. How does the body react to stress and how can I avoid it?

Stress has a bad rep. However, it also helps us perform well and heightens our senses when required. Stress is only negative on a long-term basis. So next time you find yourself in a stressful situation with a racing heart and sweaty palms, just think “Yes!” My head and body are ready to take this on and win!”
Identify what your triggers are and try one of two options: avoid them or address them. Good stress management is what’s important. Learning to say no or looking at the situation from another perspective are both useful hacks to help deal with tricky situations and reduce stress levels.

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