Five Ways to Boost Your Lunch Hour (Yes, Hour) By Logging Off

How many of you (go ahead and raise your hands, we won’t tell anyone) scarf down a sandwich at lunch with food in one hand and your mouse in the other? Even if you go online shopping or quickly peruse your Facebook feed on your mobile phone, let’s face it, that’s hardly a lunch break.

Instead of staying connected and remaining chained to your desk, a FastCompany piece may inspire you with a few ideas to get your lunchtime groove on.

1. Take your team out. If you’re a manager, go ahead and build team bonding over lunch. It’s more casual than staying in the office and an alternative to outings outside the work day like happy hour which eat into personal time. And hey, who doesn’t like free food?

2. Take a yoga class.The piece mentions a one-hour class that people slowly make their exit at the 50 or 55 minute mark. Think about how much more relaxed and happier you’ll be after the class ends.

If yoga’s not your thing or if you don’t have a full hour by the time you get to class, change and vice versa, consider taking a bike ride or even a 20-minute walk. You’ll boost your mood and clear your mind even during that short period of time.

3. Go on a date. Yes, you read that right. If you’re in a relationship and work nearby your significant other, why not make it a point of having a nice lunch once a week to reconnect?

If you’re not in a relationship, you can always use that time to go on a date. For instance, in downtown Manhattan the pop-up shop Matchmaker Cafe caters to singles looking for love.

Proprietor Nancy Slotnick writes in a Huffington Post piece, “My philosophy in my dating business is that people have to connect in the real world, out in the public domain. We have online dating and social media and that’s all so great and efficient. But it’s no replacement for the power of true human connection. Public space is a perfect hotbed for communal interaction, but they need the design and stewardship that a private entity or person has to bring.”

4. Meet new people. The piece mentions leveraging your lunchtime to meet new people through your network, invite new people at the office to lunch or meet someone completely new. For instance, Tim Gutwald developed Network Shuffle, a new service assigning members a new contact every month for face-to-face interactions. He tells FastCompany,“The randomness ensures people’s networks are constantly expanding (beyond just friends of friends).”

5. Own your time and pursue your passion project. That’s right, own it. Leave your cubicle and run some errands or if you’re really productive, leverage that time to write your unfinished novel. Pursue your passion and turn off the work mindset and tune into your creative zone. If you’re concerned you’re always crunched for time, think of it this way: Five full hours each week equate to about 20 per month. In six months that’s a lot of pages that may get written.