Skipping Your Lunch Break: Good or Bad?
Being healthy and working full-time usually presents a struggle. In addition to the increased time sitting in front of a computer screen, studies show that only 1 in 5 people actually take a lunch break. People are forgoing a midday break and opting instead for a lunch hour spent finalizing a report, sending an email or just continuing with the day’s tasks. Not only does this lead to work stress, but it can also lead to poor eating choices.
But, while you may think not taking a break is great for work productivity, studies actually show just the opposite. In fact, creativity and productivity are both impacted if you work without taking a break.
You don’t have time to skip your lunch break. What you do at lunch can either make or break the rest of the day.
– Tom Rath, “Eat, Move, Sleep”
This doesn’t mean that the simple act of eating and nourishing your body will suffice, although it is a key component of maintaining clarity and energy throughout the day. Removing yourself from the “work environment” is required to maintain productivity and has also shown to result in increased job satisfaction.
If you’re trying to eat healthy at work, taking a lunch break is critical. The happier and more relaxed you are as you dine, the less likely you are to mindlessly overeat. How many times have you eaten while working on a project only to realize that your food is gone before you even realize?
Additionally, since stress diminishes saliva production, the more relaxed you are, the more saliva you produce. This gives you a head start on digestion and leads to a more comfortable gut feeling after eating. Skip the work talk, if possible! Keeping conversations happy at mealtime gives you a better chance of eating less and enjoying it more.
Get Up and Move
Whether you get up from your desk to do some posture pick-me-ups or hit the gym for a quick 30-minute class, get up a do something. Moderate to vigorous exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, which secretes endorphins and other biochemicals that have a natural calming effect.
So take a walk around your office building, walk to a local eatery to meet a friend for a quick bite – whatever you choose, get up from your desk and don’t look back until your break is over!