Do you find yourself crashing at 3pm every day? Feeling brain dead on the way home from work? If so, you might want to take a closer look at your lunch hour. It turns out how we spend the midday break can have big effects on the rest of the day, and there are some small but important changes you can make to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your lunch. Do these five things to feel truly refreshed on your lunch break:

image by molly winters

Thou shalt not eat at thy desk.

We know we shouldn’t do it. But we all do it. Break the bad habit of eating at your desk and you’ll enjoy your food more, give your mind a healthy break, and be able to return to your desk feeling focused and refreshed. It’s a small change you can make that makes a BIG difference in your afternoon.

image by lucy cuneo

Be mindful of your social needs.

Are you an introvert who works as part of a collaborative team? An extrovert who spends time working in isolation? Whether you crave quiet time away from people, or love the energy of a chatty lunch, take a second look at how you might use your lunch break to meet those needs.

image by teal thompson

Get outside.

Studies have shown that humans are healthier when they spend time outdoors. Use your lunch break to take a quick walk around the block, stroll through a local park, or just choose to eat your lunch outside on a picnic table. I promise you’ll feel more relaxed and able to mentally disconnect from your work during your break after you’ve spent time outdoors.

image by jessica attie

Stretch.

If sitting really is the new smoking, then daily stretching is more important than ever. Start your lunch break by trying these seven moves you can do at your desk, or even better — find a private spot to stretch even deeper.

image by ashleigh amoroso 

Go unplugged.

We are SO plugged in now as a society, it’s imperative to disconnect from email, texting, and social media for short intervals during the day. This gives your mind a chance to focus on creative flow thoughts. And why you’re already unplugged, why not try incorporating a bit of meditation into your lunch break? N’amaste.

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