Make a fresh start

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Every year at the end of the summer vacations, it's the same old story. Between school, work, sports and other activities, you'll quickly lose the benefits of your family vacations. Even though it is difficult to escape this spiral, with a little determination it is possible to take time for yourself! Do not sacrifice your lunch break: taking a quick break from your desk, even if it is only for 15 to 20 mn, is a proven way to increase productivity and decision making. Human beings do not work in a linear way like machines, and taking regular breaks is imperative to help sustain concentration and energy levels throughout the day.

Maximize your lunch break

  • Short and sharp. A 15 to 20 minute break is all you need away from the desk and preferably get outside to get a quick dose of sunshine and some fresh air. And start with just one or two lunch breaks a week and notice how much more productive you feel that afternoon. 
  • Go green: A recent study found that your brain gets more of break by taking a walk in a green environment, like a park, than if you took a stroll in an urban environment filled with concrete. 
  • Lock it in the diary. If you don't put the time for a lunch break in your diary, your time will definitely get hijacked by other people, other meetings and other tasks outside of your control 
  • Digital detox. Another great tip is to try and stay off your screens for the duration of the lunch break to give your brain a proper break and time to recharge.
  • Lunch for all. A number of proactive companies are now encouraging their employees to take breaks (rather than working them like machines) and making it part of their culture. Grab a colleague or your entire team and get outside for a quick bite. Not only will it help productivity, it's also a great way to get to know your colleagues better. 
  • Healthy lunch. You can choose to enjoy a complete and balanced meal that will help you to face the rest of the day. For their calming effect, fiber and whole grain carbohydrates (basmati rice, bulgur, whole wheat pasta) are valuable nutrients. Raw or cooked fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals to the proper functioning of metabolism. Raw vegetables (if fresh) have the advantage of providing more different vitamins. If your vegetable platter has no taste nor flavor, prefer a fresh soup and a plate of cooked vegetables (green beans for example). Proteins have a role to play even if you know it is better to reduce the servings of animal protein. Vary your protein intake by consuming legumes associated with cereals (couscous/ chickpeas, rice/red beans, rice/lentils, etc.), quinoa, soya (soya desserts rather than dairy ones, soya germs, tofu, etc.).


Get more magnesium

Magnesium plays an essential role in the body's ability to naturally regulate stress of any kind. Letting stress get the better of you may lead to the depletion of magnesium consumed in your daily diet and a deficiency in that mineral which can cause you to quickly feel the effects of stress. Starting now, incorporate foods into your diet which are rich in magnesium and B vitamins (pulses, healthy fats, whole grains, chocolate, fruit and veg, fish and shellfish) and take a specifically-formulated food supplement designed to reduce stress, such as D-Stress or D-Stress Booster. More about stress.

Scheduling time with yourself

  • Evenings with yourself. Try to save certain weeknights just for you. If others ask you to do things those nights, just tell them you have plans. Use the time for gardening, reading, exercise, thinking, or the ultimate luxury of doing nothing!
  • Commute via public transportation. Use that time to plan your day, do some reading, writing or even meditation.
  • Join a group that can allow you some time away from work and home: singing group, gardening group, astronomy society, book club, biking/walking/running/ etc. Look up a club in your area today and join! If you can’t find a club, consider starting one yourself!
  • Take an adult education class. Take a fun class: foreign language, photography, art, creative writing or sports (kayaking, archery, golf, yoga). 
  • Exercise. For busy people it can be difficult to make time for this. You can do it!! All you have to do is decide today and then make it a reality tomorrow. 
  • Walk to work. This is a a great one because you’re accomplishing many things at once. You’re getting exercise, you have time to think or enjoy music/audio, and you’re helping to save the environment. 
  • Arrive early. Any appointment that you have, plan to arrive 15-30 minutes early. Then use this time for you: reading, writing, meditation, relaxation, thinking, whatever. 
  • Volunteering. There are so many benefits with this. You make a difference for others, you escape work and personal worries, and you grow as a person.
  • Find a babysitter. Make a plan to have a babysitter that you trust watch your children once a month or once a week so that you can get some time for yourself.


Sources : Andrew May, " Take back your lunch break ", K. Stone, " How to Find Time for Yourself  ".

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