It was nearly noon and my eyes felt as dry as the Sahara while the tension in my shoulders had just started pushing on the base of my skull, creating a dull throbbing headache. I had skipped my breaks that morning, something that I knew was a bad idea at the time, but I wasn’t going to be able to skip my lunch routine.
Making my way to the lunch room, I smiled at a pair of coworkers who were chatting about the latest episode of something and collected my bagged lunch, hastily prepared that morning. Instead of joining in the conversation I went to my car and drove to the nearest empty parking lot. It was near a lovely walking trail along a man-made lake and the shade from the nearby trees created the perfect temperature with the windows down in the car. 5 minutes of my lunch were gone.
A lot of my contemporaries worked through their lunch or, if they took their full allotted break, they would go and eat out somewhere guaranteeing they would grow sluggish mid-afternoon. I preferred the solitude of the parked car and the lower calories of a handmade lunch. It only took 10 minutes more to eat leaving me 45 minutes left to my lunch.
Reclining my seat, I set my alarm, closed my eyes and began a focused meditation. As a skeptic I really wasn’t on board with the entire process, but nearly every book I’d read on success had some variant of meditation being done so I thought I’d give it a try. It took about 2 minutes of concentration before I slipped into a quiet doze. In 15 minutes, my alarm went off and that dull headache that I had accumulated that morning had washed away. I still had 30 minutes left to my lunch.
Since my power nap was less than 30 minutes, I awoke refreshed rather than disoriented. Slipping on my walking shoes, I got out and started walking along the lake path. The cool breeze was refreshing, and the stretching helped ease my lower back that had started to complain about sitting so long. Smiling and nodding to the joggers and dog walkers along the trail, I took 10 minutes out and 10 minutes to get back to the car.
After a quick drive back to the office and refreshing my coffee cup, I took a final stretch and checked my emails. It was going to be a great afternoon.
Taking a real lunch break is vital to premium performance. A walk and a nap are the perfect combination to keeping your energy up in the afternoon. There is nothing quite like it and I can’t recommend it enough.
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