These Are the Best Ways to Optimize Your Lunch Break When Working From Home

30 minutes is all you need to fuel the rest of your day.

Jelena Zelen / Shutterstock
Jelena Zelen / Shutterstock

As the clock strikes noon, most of us begin to wonder about lunch plans. And on busy days when we’re working from home, it can seem so much easier to simply power through tasks without a pause, and skip a lunch break entirely.

On one hand, we know how beneficial even a few minutes of downtime can be when it comes to our focus and performance. In fact, researchers at George Mason University found that study participants who took just a five-minute break during a 45-minute attention task outperformed those who took no breaks at all. Another study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology confirms that lunch breaks allow workers to recover during the day and can increase their energy levels over time.

And yet, with so much evidence pointing to the positives of taking lunch, so many of us fail to take advantage of the opportunity to recharge. It’s especially important to take breaks as we adjust to working from home. Over 70 percent of 5,000 respondents in a Thrive Global survey about pain points related to the coronavirus crisis worry that they won’t be able to focus as much as usual while working from home. But the truth is, taking small breaks throughout the day, like making time for lunch, can help us channel our focus when we need it most.

These strategies will help you make the most of your lunch break so you can take on the second part of your day feeling energized and inspired. 

Create a plan with your partner to make meals for each other 

Depending on the demands of your work schedules, you might be able to take turns making lunch for each other. It’s a great way to share the load and find time to connect — and having a plan in advance will help you avoid throwing together last-minute unhealthy meals.

Schedule 30 minutes on your calendar to make and eat a healthy lunch every day.
One of the big benefits of working from home is that it’s easier to cook yourself a healthy lunch when you have access to healthy food in your kitchen.

Swap a healthy treat for your go-to sugary comfort food 

If you find yourself reaching for unhealthy comfort foods, find a delicious snack that still feels like an indulgence — without the sugar. Try a bowl of berries instead of a cinnamon bun, or a fruit smoothie instead of ice cream. 

If you can, open a window and take a breath of fresh air 

Harvard research shows that allowing in fresh air from outdoors can actually help reduce transmission of airborne pathogens. As an added bonus to your mental well-being, you’ll feel less isolated and more connected as you take your lunch break.

At the end of every lunch break you take, ping a coworker to ask how they’re doing 

This way you’ll habit stack forming valuable connections on top of a healthy meal. 

Working From Home in the New Normal is a data-driven storytelling initiative from SAP and Thrive Global, bringing together insights powered by the Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse with actionable Microsteps and stories from Thrive to help you navigate working from home. Visit daily for the latest data and stories to help improve your focus, prioritization, and well-being.

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