Instead of Skipping Lunch Do What Successful People Do People get more done when they are rested and fed, so get out of the office and eat something good for you.

By Jacqueline Whitmore

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Some people these days are so consumed with work that they don't take the time to enjoy a proper lunch break. Many skip lunch altogether. But the most successful entrepreneurs deliberately use their lunch break to their benefit, whether it is to enhance their relationships, improve their health or simply relax and refresh.

Here are five things successful people do at lunch to get ahead.

1. They eat.

But not alone, and rarely do they ever eat at their desks. Successful people head out for lunch, generally with friends, co-workers or influencers. According to author Keith Ferrazzi in Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time, "what distinguishes highly successful people is the way they use the power of relationships -- so that everyone wins." This strategy pays off with insights learned, relationships forged and contacts made.

Before you head out to lunch alone, invite someone from work you'd like to know a little bit better. Or gather with old friends, colleagues or even a competitor.

Successful people plan their day with lunch in mind and make healthy choices when it comes to food, whether packing a brown bag or eating out. Lighter, more nutritious meals keep you from feeling bloated or sleepy after lunch while helping you avoid the last-minute raid on the candy drawer or vending machine.

Related: Kickstarter Wrote a Computer Program For Its 'Lunch Roulette.' And Now It's Sharing the Code.

2. They socialize.

Staying connected with others is vital for success and offers health benefits, as well. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest, notes that "relationships are really the key to lifelong happiness." He says that "each new friend will boost your happiness about ten percent."

At work, the benefits include staying in the know about happenings in the office, building strategic alliances and finding connectivity and common goals with others whom you spend your day.

3. They exercise.

A quick 30-45 minutes of exercise during your lunch break is a great way to fend off fatigue and stay energized. Go to the gym, take a walk or squeeze in a yoga class. The key here is movement. Invite a friend or colleague to exercise with you so that you can hold each other accountable.

Related: Exercise Isn't Just Good for You. Your Startup's Success May Depend on It.

4. They nap.

Although sleeping on the job is generally frowned upon, naps at work are starting to trend. Naps can revitalize workers more effectively than caffeine and have been shown to increase alertness and promote learning.

Companies including Google, The Huffington Post and HubSpot realize the power of naps and go so far as to install napping pods and hammocks in dedicated nap spaces. Just 20 minutes of rest or meditation in the afternoon can recharge you for the rest of the day.

5. They do things they enjoy.

Some successful people run personal errands, others go to the park. Try leaving your work behind for a short period of time. A respite will give your brain relief from the stresses of the office and enable you to think more creatively. Successful people use this time to clear their head, brainstorm and come up with solutions. Walk the dog, make personal calls, enjoy nature, go shopping or visit with a friend. Take in the fresh air and you'll go back to the office inspired and rejuvenated.

Related: Why You Should Let Your Employees Nap at Work

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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