First, let me say I don’t always take a lunch break. Then, the other day I was feeling overwhelmed at work and decided to take a walk. It did wonders; the fresh air cleared my head and I returned 15 minutes later feeling refreshed and ready to focus. Another instance happened yesterday when I found myself in back-to-back meetings feeling overwhelmed and flustered. I carved out 15 minutes and sat with a coworker in our cafe. I enjoyed the break, my food and the company.
It fit me thinking how important it is to take a lunch break – it seems simple in theory but hard in practice. I found an amazing article of the benefits of breaks and am sharing what responses with me for a little push to take that break:
1) You will be more satisfied by what you are eating – and it will be easier to determine how much food you need since you are paying attention.
As you already know, I’m a big proponent of intuitive and mindful eating. Mindful eating, which basically just means actually paying attention and focusing on the experience of eating will help you to savor your meal and allow you to listen for cues your body sends you when it is full and has had enough. This is especially important when you are just starting your intuitive eating journey and re-learning what fullness feels like for you. It’s hard to enjoy your meal and avoid eating past fullness when you don’t even realize you’re eating because you’re focused on your email.
2) Multitasking is bad for us.
It’s becoming pretty obvious that multitasking is not good for us, and yet it seems more and more prevalent. Our constant need to feel connected paired with overwhelming to do lists tempt us to try to juggle it all at once – and to go ahead and eat lunch while we’re at it, too – but all that multitasking is not doing us any favors personally or professionally. In fact, multitasking makes us less productive – and more stressed.
3) Changing your environment will positively impact the rest of your day.
Even if you aren’t actually eating during your lunch break, taking a short walk will do wonders for your mood.
Studies show that even brief breaks will vastly improve focus – so you will be more productive if you allow yourself a break than if you try to power through and skip it.
I know that it’s not always going to be realistic to take a break during the workday – and that sometimes life happens and we need to have a rushed meal in front of our computer or in our car. But like for most things in life, there is time, we just have to want to make it, and make it a real, consistent priority.
So – close that laptop, push back your chairs, and take your lunch break, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Every minute will help.
Do you prioritize taking a break?