Summertime is here, and we are reveling in all of its goodness — afternoons at the pool, ice-cold beverages, juicy new reads, the most delicious fresh produce, and lots and lots of sunshine. But for many of us who don’t have a traditional summer vacation like we used to back in the glory days of our school years, these activities take place exclusively after work and on the weekends.
During the weekdays we’re still cooped up inside in our offices, and while we’re grateful to have jobs that foot the bills for our fun summertime adventures, we miss the freedom associated with this special time of year. So we’ve come up with some simple ways that we can incorporate summery goodness into our everyday lives while we’re at work by making suggestions of things we can do during our lunch break. We hope these tips will encourage you to embrace this summer wherever you may be.
Pack a Picnic
This is a fun option for those of us who are devoted to bringing our lunches to work. Scout the outdoor areas around your office complex. Whether you have access to a lovely nearby park or simply an empty bench or patch of grass, chances are there are options for outdoor eating opportunities. Feel free to get fancy and adorn your chosen space with a fun blanket or towel (we are obsessed with these round towels). Take the time to plan ahead and pack a lunch that’s slightly more upscale than usual — perfect your picnic game by preparing tasty foods that do well in summery climates (think pretty pasta-, quinoa-, or farro-based salads) and pick a fun drink (like sparkling French lemonade) to accompany your meal.
Don’t forget something delicious and seasonal for dessert!
Go For a Walk Outside
Use part of your lunch break for a refreshing walk outdoors. Slather on some sunscreen and soak up some rays while you stroll around in the fresh air, giving yourself a break from your devices and meetings and to-do lists. If you’d like, cue up a fun podcast or some energizing music to enjoy while you walk, or simply bask in the noises around you, reveling in how good it feels to soak up some sunshine while you squeeze a little exercise into your day. Resist the temptation to schedule a call or run through the points of an upcoming presentation during your walk, freeing yourself up to enjoy some down time.
Read — But Not on a Device
Stow a great book or a new magazine in your bag when you leave home in the morning and head outside during lunchtime to take a reading break. Here’s the key: don’t read on a device. The point here is to escape and rejuvenate, and it will be hard to feel like we’ve cleared our heads if we are still staring at a screen, like most of us do when we’re working on our computers or tablets or phones. Instead, focus on the feeling of holding a book or a magazine in your hands, and allow yourself to really dive into the story you’re reading. You’ll head back to the office feeling like you’ve traveled to another place and time, giving you the motivation to dive back into work on a high note.
Treat Yo’ Self
Craving something sweet? Head to the nearest frozen yogurt shop or bakery and pick up a tasty goody that you can savor. Feeling like your fingers are all beat up? Run into the nearest nail salon for a relaxing manicure, and skip the polish if you’re short on time. Dreaming of a new outfit for an upcoming event? Pop into a boutique and browse the available selections. The key to treating yourself is doing it sparingly, allowing fun indulgences to remain as the special activities they are instead of allowing them to become everyday occurrences, losing their luster and taking a toll on our wallets.
Do Something Creative
When we were young many of us spent our summers at camp learning new skills and picking up cool hobbies. Part of the fun of camp was trying new things and engaging our creative senses in unique ways. We may be too old for summer camp now but we can still practice the same concepts we learned there by finding creative outlets that provide us with inspiration and rejuvenation. If you already have a creative hobby you love, store some of your supplies in your desk so you can whip them out on your lunch break. Need some starter ideas? Try out an adult coloring book or a unique journaling project and allow yourself to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of doing something creative on your lunch break.
How do you “escape” during your workday?
Images via Esther Lee