Wild Lunch Breaks

© Eleanor Church

Spend your lunch break outdoors and introduce a bit of 'vitamin wild' into your day.

I’ve just sat back down at my desk, after spending 10 minutes of my lunch break sitting on a bench outside, watching birds. I feel refreshed, ready for the rest of my day, and inspired to write this blog!

On average, we spend a third of our waking hours in employment1. That’s a lot of time to be spent at your desk! With deadlines looming, to do lists getting longer and things which “just need to be done now” facing us, it can be difficult to find time to take a break.

In fact, a survey by BUPA found that less than 1 in 3 people take a proper lunch break each day. 2 But, taking a break from your desk, especially a break where there’s nature, can be beneficial for your mental health, as well as your productivity.

A 2016 study looked at the effects of natural sunlight and exposure to nature on employees’ mood, job satisfaction and organisational commitment. It reports that greater exposure to nature was associated with lower levels of depressed mood, and that exposure to nature, and natural sunlight were associated with higher levels of job satisfaction and organisational commitment3

If you’re feeling like you’d like to start taking some of your lunch break outside but don’t know where to start here are some simple ideas for things to do:

  • Firstly leaving your desk is best! But if you can’t do this try greening your office with houseplants (employees in workplaces with plants are 15% more productive!), playing birdsong, or shifting your desk to have a view of wildlife out of your window
  • Walk down the street outside your office. As you walk try to bring your awareness to each of your senses in turn and concentrate solely on what you feel in the moment
  • Take your phone out and snap some photographs. Taking time to notice, and photograph it can improve your attention and refresh your mind
  • Find a spot to sit. Count the shades of green you can see or the number of sounds you can hear.

Want more tips and tricks to make your lunch break wilder? This World Mental Health Day (Wednesday 10th October) join Nature and Wellbeing Development Officer, Jess in Portsmouth’s Victoria Park from 11am-2pm for more handy tips and tricks for getting your lunchtime nature fix!

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/workplace-health-applying-all-our-health/workplace-health-applying-all-our-health
  2. https://www.bupa.com/sharedcontent/articles/take-a-break
  3. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0155614