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WORK-LIFE BALANCE / FEB. 27, 2015
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7 Great Ways to Spend Your Lunch Break in the UK

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Many of us will include in our New Year’s Resolutions a resolution to enjoy our free time more, or at least to make better use of it. Obvious choices include catching up with friends or doing some exercise. Here are seven other suggestions that will take you away from your desk and help you reclaim your lunch break.

1. Help a child to read

Library

It’s World Book Day on March 5 of this year, so why not get into the spirit of it and teach a child to read? An hour of your time is a priceless way to inculcate in children a love of reading. If you don’t know where to start, visit Beanstalk, a national charity that recruits and trains volunteers to provide reading support to children who are behind national standards with their reading.

2. Attend a concert

If you Google ‘lunchtime concerts’, followed by your area, the chances are you’ll be rewarded with a plethora of lunchtime music events, and many of them will be free. If you live in a city, there will undoubtedly be numerous options; otherwise universities and colleges usually host events, so you could also contact your area’s university to find out more.

3. Have a massage

Massages are the ultimate stress relief, and some companies offer their staff subsidised massages. If yours doesn’t, Google ‘corporate massage’ to find out if there are any companies in your area that provide corporate massage services.

4. ‘Discover’ your neighbourhood

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How much do you know about the area around your place of work? Does it have an interesting history? Try and find out as much as you can about the area – a travel guide such as Lonely Planet is a good place to start. If you work in Bath, for example, you could learn more about its literary history, not to mention its Roman inheritance and architectural glories.

5. Give blood

Help to save a life by giving blood. It can take less than ten minutes, and the process couldn’t be easier: all you need to do is answer a few questions relating to your health. Then, providing you’re not anaemic and there is no reason you cannot be a donor, your blood will be taken. You can find out more by visiting the National Blood Service website. Giving blood is a terrific way to feel good about yourself.

6. Go to a seminar

Some universities and colleges hold free lunchtime talks on a range of topics where you can hear leading academics hold forth on their subject areas. University College London has a well-earned reputation for sparkling lunchtime talks free of charge, and all lectures are streamed live online. If there are no seminars in your area, you could use your lunch hour to listen to one of the many excellent TED talks instead.

7. Rediscover the joy of reading

Back on the subject of reading: how long ago was it that you got stuck into a really good book – a sparkling crime novel, perhaps, or a sizzling romance? Studies have shown that some genres of books, particularly detective novels, can even be a confidence booster – providing you guess the ‘whodunnit’ correctly. Whatever your preference, reading is a great way to take ‘time out’ and relax.

So, there you have it: seven wonderful ways to spend your lunch break. Life is too short not to savour every moment, so next time you’re tempted to sleep your lunch hour away, remember that there are more creative ways to spend this precious hour.

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