Work-related stress cannot always be avoided. However, you can make time to destress throughout the day, helping you to stay happier and more productive. Taking to destress each day can also reduce the various long-term health dangers of chronic stress such as depression, anxiety or heart disease. All in all, it’s important to give yourself a proper break. Below are just a few effective ways to destress on your lunch break.
Listen to music
Listening to music that you love is a great way to destress. Music releases endorphins, which actively help to flush away stress-causing cortisol hormones. Some people listen to music as they work, however for work that requires a lot of concentration this can sometimes be a distraction. If this is the case, plan to listen to some tunes on your lunch break instead. This could be on your headphones or on your car stereo.
Meditation is a way of clearing and refocusing the mind. If you’re stressed, it’s likely that you’ve got lots of negative thoughts bouncing around your brain. Meditation can help to let go of these thoughts and gain perspective on the situation. It’s best to get away from the situation – escaping to your car, going to the bathroom or finding somewhere peaceful outside could provide the perfect setting for meditating. Close your eyes, take deep breaths and try to free your mind of all those toxic thoughts. Five minutes of meditation is all you may need (it’s something that you can do to destress at any point of the day).
Play a video game
Many people find video games to be therapeutic. Consider playing a quick game such as Madalin Stunt Cars 2 on your computer or phone. You could even try puzzle games – these could help to focus your brain away from work. The act of solving puzzles can also offer a sense of resolution that can be great for eliminating stress.
Being sat indoors all day isn’t good for our physical or mental health. Going outside will give you a change of environment, which will help you to free your mind of work. The fresh air meanwhile is good for your brain and could help you to think more clearly. You’ll also be getting your fix of vitamin D from the sun, which could also help to lift your mood.
Exercise is a great stressbuster. If you’ve been sitting at a desk all day or sat behind a wheel, use the opportunity to stretch your legs. A brisk walk may be all you need to get the blood flowing so that you start releasing endorphins. Alternatively, you could plan an intense workout. HIIT workouts are perfect for a lunch break because you can do them in ten minutes and exercise every part of your body (you’ll feel much better afterwards and more motivated to take on the day).
Talk to friends
Socialisation and laughter could be a great way of unwinding on your lunch break. Consider whether you’re able to meet up with a friend for half an hour. If not, you could just call a friend or talk via instant message. You could go out for lunch with colleagues – just make sure that you avoid the topic of work so that you’re able to fully separate yourself and get the break you need.
Enjoy your foodWhile it is possible to do all of these things on your lunch break, you need to make sure that you’ve still got time to enjoy your food. Rushing your lunch will make you more stressed – give yourself time to eat at a leisurely pace. Consequently, it may be better to just choose one of the above activities over your lunch break rather than trying to pack them all in. It’s worth noting that some foods can exacerbate stress (particularly those containing lots of caffeine or sugar) while other foods can calm you down (you can find a great list of stressbusting foods here)