Life on the inside: 10 ways to spend your lunch break at home

It can be tricky distinguishing between “work” and “personal” time when your home suddenly becomes your office.

With your laptop likely sitting on your kitchen table, it’s easy to hunch over it for longer periods of time – and this could be impacting your mood, mental health and productivity.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to step away from your desk and actually take your lunch break. Doing something new and interesting during this hour in the middle of the day can re-energise you and prepare you to attack the rest of the afternoon.

To make sure you actually take a proper lunchbreak, try some of these activities.

1. Do an online exercise class

If you’re struggling to find motivation to work out, it’s worth hopping on one of the many Instagram live fitness classes. Plenty of upmarket gyms – from Barry’s Bootcamp to 1Rebel – host daily lunchtime classes on Instagram which tend to be half an hour long. If you want to work hard in a short amount of time and need a teacher guiding you through the reps, these classes are the answer.

You don’t even have to shower before returning to your desk if you don’t want to.

2. Get crafty

Whether it’s doing a paint by numbers, knitting or learning how to macrame, the best thing about having a bit more time on your hands is the opportunity to pick up a new craft activity. In the office you didn’t exactly have the chance to start painting at your desk during lunch, so why not do it now?

3. Stretch

Woman stretching
Woman stretching

If a lunchtime exercise class seems a bit extreme for you, do some gentle stretching instead. This will help counteract the effects of being hunched over your computer all day, give you an opportunity to slow down your mind and energise you for the afternoon ahead.

4. Do a spot of gardening

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, your lunch hour is a prime time to tend to your plants. You’ll get the satisfaction of seeing the things you’ve planted grow, and it’s an opportunity to get some fresh air before heading back to work.

5. Prep dinner

With a bit of forward planning, you can get all the hard work for the night’s dinner out the way. Whether it’s putting all the ingredients for a stew in the slow cooker or making a marinade for your meat, doing the prep now will mean you can truly relax with a glass of wine at the end of the working day.

Plus, you might find all the peeling and chopping a therapeutic break from tapping away at your computer.

6. Hop on a video chat

If you’re missing the social aspect of lunchtimes at work – maybe you’re used to meeting up with your colleagues in the canteen and having a gossip – why not recreate the same thing at home? We’re all pro at Zoom calls and video chats by now, so you can settle down with your sandwich and have a chat with your work husbands and wives just like you’re in the office.

7. Do a beauty treatment

Embrace the fact you’re not in the office on your lunch break by giving yourself an express beauty treatment – this could be a face mask made from things in your kitchen (try a mix of yoghurt, oats and turmeric and apply onto your face for 15 minutes before washing off), or an at-home manicure.

8. Learn something new

If you’re keen to keep your brain working during lunch, use the hour to expand your mind with lectures, classes and museum tours – many of which have swiftly pivoted to online.

Catch up on previous events from the How To Academy – such as a conversation with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei – or take classes from Harvard University.

If you’re interested in a museum tour, plenty of famous spaces have opened their doors virtually. You can “walk” through the halls of the British Museum or ogle art at the Courtauld Gallery, all from the comfort of your sofa.

9. Go for a walk

Particularly if you’re feeling a bit sluggish come lunchtime, a brisk walk is the perfect way to lift your spirits. Getting a bit of vitamin D will boost your mood and it’s a nice way to get a bit of exercise without putting yourself through a gruelling hit class.

10. Have a nap

National Napping Day
National Napping Day

While we’re not advocating for snuggling up in bed for the rest of the afternoon, a power nap could do you the world of good. There are plenty of benefits to a short snooze, from improving alertness to lowering your blood pressure and reducing stress. If you do decide to catch some lunchtime shut-eye just make sure you don’t forget to put your alarm on.