Take Home: 7 tips for a better lunch break

A "dedicated" lunch break can help you work better and feel better, according to John Trougakos, professor of organizational behaviour at UTSC. It's how you take your break, he says, that will affect how much you benefit from it.

1. Actually take the lunch break and it will help your sense of well-being, reduce stress and increase productivity.

2. Don’t take the break at your desk. Do whatever you can to detach yourself from anything work-related. Leave the workspace and don’t take any work with you.

3. Don’t do something else that’s mentally or emotionally taxing. You won’t get much benefit from your lunch if you use it to study for a night course or to balance the household books.

4. Do relaxing things. Meet with friends, read or, if you enjoy knitting or some other easily portable hobby, try that. Or take a walk—it’s always good to get outdoors.

5. Avoid work-related socializing if possible. It’s one thing if you enjoy chatting with co-workers over lunch, but it’s something else if you’re compelled to worry about work when you’re supposed to be relaxing.

6. Exercise control if you can over when you to take your break. Being forced to take your lunch when you’d rather be working, and vice versa, reduces the benefit of the break.

7. Finally, stay healthy in general. Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. A solid foundation of healthy habits will help keep the stress down and maximize the benefits of your lunch break.