Working continuously without taking a lunch break will not help you get more done.
In fact, your brain needs 20% of the energy from your daily calorie intake. Eating healthy foods is necessary for good brain health. Therefore, when you go a long time without eating or skip your meal, you're basically starving your brain, and you may experience a decline in energy.
Also, when you eat irregularly, you may experience unpredictable swings in your blood sugar levels. This could cause irritability, dizziness, and brain fog. However, stepping away from your desk to take a lunch break could help you be more successful, creative, and productive.
Benefits of a lunch break
Working for long stretches without breaks causes exhaustion and stress. On the other hand, taking a few strategic breaks throughout an entire day replenishes your cognitive resources, rejuvenates your mind, and helps you become more creative.
Makes you happier
Spending your lunch break with your colleagues and friends can eliminate the negative effects of a busy workday.
Relieving stress by engaging in a hobby, venting about work, or having a good laugh is a surefire mood lifter. Engaging in something that is not related to work is a good way to divert your mind and refocus your attention away from deadline and project pressures.
Taking a lunch break provides you an opportunity for self-care.
Understand that working all day long will not help you get more done. On the other hand, using your lunchtime wisely to eat healthily and finish some errands like going to the Post Office or bank will leave you feeling less stressed and more balanced.
You’ll be surprised to know that your focus at work can improve even with a 20-minute break.
According to research, individuals who took better workday breaks by breaking earlier and finishing activities they liked experienced reduced lower back pain, eyestrain, and headaches caused by fatigue.
So work smarter, not harder!
Reduces aches and pains
Working at your desk for a long period of time can lead to back and neck pain, according to Mayo Clinic.
Sitting in the same position and bad posture put a strain on your muscles and spine. Leaving your desk at lunchtime will stretch your muscles and spine, reducing discomfort and releasing pressure. Additionally, when you go outside, you’ll get a fresh breeze and sunshine.
When you move and walk, you burn calories and decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes. On the other hand, too much sitting can have a negative impact on fat and sugar metabolism, both of which affect your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Ways to leverage your lunch break to boost your skills and productivity
Eat with a Colleague
A study found that teams that take lunch together perform better at work than teams that don’t eat together.
No matter what type of organization you’re in, you’re likely to have colleagues you’ve never had met. Your lunchtime is a great time to get to meet and know people in your organization and team.
Use the Learning App
Instead of browsing your Facebook or Instagram account, use your mobile device to learn a new skill while you lunch.
Mind Tools is a useful app for those who want to advance in their career. With this app, you’ll access a variety of career-building resources, so you can learn the skills required to get ahead in your career. The app's free version includes project management, problem-solving, leadership, decision-making, communication, and career skills.
Attend an Event
Attending a networking event is a chance to take a break from your workflow to concentrate on improving your knowledge, learning the latest skills, and building relationships.
Plus, you’ll likely meet individuals who could possibly become a new client.
Read Blogs and Books
Reading blogs and books help you increase your knowledge of a particular topic and improve your vocabulary. Scientific studies also show that reading decreases your stress levels and enhances your vocabulary and creativity.
Everything you read fills your brain with valuable and new information. The more knowledge you possess, the more well-equipped you’re to handle any problems you’ll ever face. In addition to this, the more you read, the more words you learn, and the more intelligent you become.
Being well-spoken and articulate is helpful in any profession. Plus, knowing that you can talk to your superiors with confidence can be a significant boost to your self-esteem.
So, devote a portion of your lunch break to reading a blog or a chapter of a book that you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t got the chance.
Strike a conversation with your Mentor
A mentor can help you grow in your professional life. Discussing topics related to skills is a good way to spend your time with your mentor. Bring up the skill areas your mentor already possesses that you wish you could improve and develop.
Here are some of the questions you can ask your mentor.
What are my best skills?
What skills do you think I need to succeed at work?
How can I improve my oratory/public speaking skills?
What skill do I need to improve?
Mindful eating is a type of meditation - a developed awareness around eating and food. It involves using all your senses while eating, and noticing the textures, smells, flavors, and color of your food. Apart from this, mindful eating means eating slowly without distractions.
It also encourages you to eat healthily, which in turn makes you happier, smarter, and fitter. Salmon, almonds, bananas, berries, nuts, eggs, and brown rice are some of the foods that make you more productive at work.
If you regularly get unproductive and lethargic in the afternoon, the cause is likely to be associated with your lunchtime diet. Make sure you're not overconsuming fats and sugars, which cause energy slumps. In addition to this, drink lots of water because dehydration causes a drop in your energy levels, making you cranky and leaving you tired. Dehydration also affects your blood circulation, making it difficult for the heart to pump nutrients and oxygen that your body needs, thus making it harder for you to carry out even the most mundane tasks.
Taking a lunch break allows you to relax and ready your mind and body for the entire day. Your lunch break improves your concentration and renews your energy levels. As a matter of fact, breaks increase your creativity and productivity. However, not taking a lunch break can leave you more stressed out. What’s more, it can decrease your ability to think creatively.
So, don’t skip your lunch break at work.
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WRITTEN BYMala Srivastava
Mala Srivastava covers science, health, and technology for various online publications. She holds a Master of Science in microbiology.
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