If you weren’t working from home regularly before the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s likely you are now. And while some people love the freedom and flexibility that remote working can offer, others can really struggle to stay motivated throughout the working day. If you relate more to the latter, it could be time for you to use your lunch break to your advantage. While you may think that skipping lunch allows you to pack more into your day, it’s likely that it has a negative impact on your energy levels and focus later in the day.

To boost productivity, here are a few ways you can spend your lunch break that will leave you feeling recharged and ready to take on the afternoon.

Tuck into a nutritious lunch

This might sound like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who skip their lunch in favor of ticking an item off their to-do list. But, with your kitchen in easy reach, there’s no excuse not to whip yourself up something healthy to eat. Your mind and body will thank you for it later in the day.

Catch up with a loved one

Working from home for long periods can feel isolating at times, especially if you live alone. So, use your lunch hour to reach out to a loved one. By maintaining your ties with friends and families via a quick message exchange, chat on the phone or even a walk together, you’re sure to feel happier and more inspired to tackle the rest of your work.

Take a lunchtime stroll

Stepping outside at lunch can provide a welcome break from the environment you’ve come to work and live in. This is especially important if you spend long periods of time sitting in front of a computer screen! Take a simple stroll around the block to get some fresh air, and take advantage of any green spaces near your home. Going for a walk is great for clearing your mind, and being among trees and greenery has been proven to decrease stress and improve mood.

Get cleaning

Ever heard that a tidy environment makes for a tidy mind? Well, this could be the case for many, but the actual act of cleaning can also benefit your productivity levels. As an activity that doesn’t require too much brain power, cleaning can be incredibly meditative. Either allow your mind to wander or pop your favorite music on and have a wiggle along to it as you go. You’ll be amazed how uplifted you feel after!

Fit a workout in

One of the perks of working from home is you can get a sweat on in your lunch break without worrying about looking your best when you return to your computer – unless you have an important cameras-on meeting! A recent study by Currys PC World found that 1 in 5 people admit they’ve been less active since the pandemic began, so it’s important to fit exercise in when you can. YouTube has tonnes of free workout videos that you can do at home or in the local park, from fast and furious HIIT workouts to invigorating yoga flows. Not only does exercise release mood boosting hormones, but it also offers cognitive benefits such as improved concentration and enhanced creativity.

Enjoy some downtime

Sometimes after a busy or stressful morning, all you want to do is switch off for an hour – and that’s ok! If that’s what your body needs, listen to it. Have a soak in the bath or put your feet up on the sofa and escape mentally. Try to avoid screens in this time, as the blue light emitted from electronic devices can cause eye strain and fatigue when used for long periods. Give, your eyes a break whenever you can.

All breaks from work are beneficial, but to really get your productivity juices flowing, fill your lunch break with some of these ideas. You’ll be surprised how much of an impact it makes.

Sophie Deering is a freelance writer, exploring topics surrounding business, well-being and technology.

Lunch break stock photo by Flystock/Shutterstock