Breakfast might be the most important meal of the day, but lunch shouldn’t be an afterthought. Healthy, balanced foods and little treats can lift your mood as well as nourish your body. Ideally, you should be able to get away from your desk to enjoy a fresh working lunch, some sunshine, and a little light exercise. Of course, this isn’t always possible – and those days can really drag on.
The Benefits Of Getting Away From Your Desk
Life can’t be all work and no play – or, at least, it shouldn’t be. While productivity is important, it’s not the only factor to measure your success by. In fact, spending all of your time at your desk may also be hurting your productivity!
Human beings have physical and mental limitations; this is simply a fact. If you work consistently for too long, your body and mind will feel the effects. Taking short breaks from work – for example, at a working lunch – has several benefits, including:
- Increased productivity
- Boosted mood
- Increased creativity
- Mild regular exercise (and the health benefits that come with it)
- A chance to socialize
All of these small benefits can add up and allow you to come back to your desk refreshed, energized, and in a good mood to take on the rest of your day. Many studies, such as one from Harvard Business Review, show how beneficial getting away from your desk at lunch can be. Unfortunately, there are days where this is genuinely not possible.
So how do you make lunch at your desk better? We have some ideas:
Ways To Make Your Working Lunch Great
Having to work through your lunch hour is no fun, but there are ways make being stuck at your desk a little easier. Some can even help you to clear your mind and make the rest of your day easier.
Stand, Stretch, Drink Some Water
Perhaps the biggest issue of working at your desk through lunch is the fact that it increases the amount of sedentary time in your life. One day now and then won’t hurt, but Harvard Medical School shows that sitting all day consistently has significant impacts upon your health and wellbeing.
This is partly because sitting relaxes all of the biggest muscles in your body, which limits the amount of glucose they take from the blood. This increases the risk of type-2 diabetes, but it can also increase pain. Mild exercise can help and will improve your mood. Even the process of standing up to move around for five minutes will combat this.
If you need to take a working lunch at your desk, try standing up and stretching. You can even perform some squats to get your blood flowing once again. If there are parts of your job that you can do standing up – for example, taking phone calls – consider doing this.
Hydration is also a key factor. Walking to the kitchen, vending machine, or water cooler to get some cold water is a good way to break the monotony, move a little, and give your eyes and mind a few moments to rest.
Take A Few Moments To Clean Your Desk
It’s easy for paperwork and work-related items to build up as the day goes on. A working lunch can be your chance to reset your desk. Take five minutes to clear away anything lying around, organize any papers, and generally order your surroundings. A tidy environment can lift your mood, and if nothing else, it will give you a few moments to focus on something other than work.
Switch To A Different Task
Working on the same thing for hours on end can make us complacent. If you can, switch to a different task – ideally a lighter one. For example, answering your emails and reviewing your progress while you eat lunch at your desk keeps your day moving, while also giving your brain something new to focus on.
You might even find that this small organization and the removal of smaller, tertiary tasks makes you feel better as you return to your larger tasks.
Do Desk Exercises
Having a stress ball to squeeze, doing seated leg raises, or performing neck rotations can elevate your mood without requiring you to leave your desk. These simple exercises keep your blood moving, stretch your muscles, and prevent the pain that comes with being in one position for too long.
Have A Creative, Fun Lunch
The main purpose of your lunch hour is, of course, to make sure that you are able to eat your lunch. While having lunch at your desk can limit your options, you don’t have to be restricted to a sandwich and a bottle of water. A fun, creative, and nutritious lunch will give you some enjoyment as well as the much needed energy and nutrition to finish your day well.
5 Fun Desk Lunch Ideas to Make You Smile
Whether you make your lunch at home or you stop somewhere on the way to pick up a meal to eat, there are many ways to turn a working lunch at your desk into a calming, pleasing experience. Here are five ideas for interesting desk lunches that will make your workday a little brighter.
1. A Fresh, Zesty Salad
Salads are sometimes categorized as “rabbit food,” but this is unfair. A good salad is chock full of fresh and tasty ingredients that create an invigorating, rejuvenating symphony of flavors and textures. For example, a tasty Greek salad with feta, chickpeas, and cucumber will give you plenty of vitamins and fiber, as well as a strong, complex taste! It’s perfect for a quick and easy working lunch at your desk.
2. A Bento Box
The Japanese bento box is a great way to create a fun and interesting lunch. These boxes are known for containing multiple, small servings of different foods.
If you want to make a traditional bento box, 50% of it should be some kind of carbohydrate (such as rice), and the rest of the box should contain protein and vegetable or fruit elements.
However, you can fill your bento box with whatever you like. In fact, we encourage you to fill it with your favorite foods to make your working lunch a little more joyful.
3. Fresh Vegetables, Hummus, And Falafel
A mix of fresh vegetables such as carrots, celery, and cucumber with some hummus and falafel make a great, well-rounded lunch that is also delicious. This refreshing and flavorful lunch idea could make your desk lunch feel more like a picnic.
4. A Chicken Wrap And A Small Dessert
Sometimes you just want something sweet, and that’s okay. Bringing a spicy chicken wrap, your favorite drink, and a dessert to your lunch can be a balanced way to indulge yourself while you work through your meal. A delicious chocolate and walnut pudding can be a nice way to get some sweetness with a healthy twist.
5. Hot Soup And Seeded Bread
A hot lunch is comforting and satisfying in many ways that cold food simply can’t match. If you want a warm, healthy pick-me-up, preparing some soup and seeded bread to heat during your working lunch is a great idea. Whether you prefer a vegetable soup or something meatier, the satisfaction of a hot meal is a great way to make your day.