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Important Reasons Why You Should Take a Lunch Break Every Day
Have you ever come back from a lunch break and felt groggy, foggy brained, sleepy, or just plain old unproductive? More than likely, you feel that way from the greasy French fries, hamburger, and ice cream shake you ate for lunch. Why not take a lunch break that benefits both mind and body? With a few simple changes you can increase your productivity between lunch and that 5 o’clock bell and feel great, instead of grumpy.
Are you skipping lunch? Or are you just wolfing down some food and then getting back to business in 15 minutes or less? It’s true that many people don’t bother with lunch because they feel the pressure from their boss to be “more productive.” Listen, if you are one of those people who work through lunch, you are risking your health. Is your job worth that?
Read on about the important reasons you not only need a lunch break, but the best things you can do during that important hour.
1. You need quality time away from your office
Your brain can only focus on something for a certain amount of time before exhaustion sets in. Getting away from your desk allows your brain to take a break from whatever task you have been doing for the past few hours and allows it time to rest and rejuvenate. You will find that when you get out of the office, even if you just walk around the block a few times, your head will be more clear and you will be more productive when you get back.
2. You might eat less with fewer distractions
If you get out of the office and pay attention to what you are eating, chances are you are much more likely to make smart food choices, truly enjoy your food, and studies show that when we pay attention to what we are eating, we eat less.
3. Change your environment
Sometimes, coming directly back to the office after lunch is, well, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s a bummer. Try to find another place right after lunch to get some work done. Perhaps take some paperwork to the office cafeteria, or the silence of an empty conference room. Changing the pace sometimes does wonders for our outlook. Why do you think people have more sex when they are on vacation? Location, location, location!
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4. Eat some brain food
Your brain will consume about 20 percent of your total energy. This means you better feed it well! Try eating some fish, avocado, blueberries, raw carrots, eggs, and nuts. Find out 10 herbs to boost your brain and memory.
5. Spend some time outside
Several studies have shown that even 15 minutes spent outside in the sunshine, watching clouds go by, or the birds in the trees, is enough to refresh our attention spans. Get a little time in the park and watch how your afternoon just speeds by.
6. Enjoy a bit of social media
Many people enjoy reading while they take their lunch breaks. If you love your social media, this would be a good time to spend a few minutes checking your inbox for those private messages, sending out a new status, or respond to a friend’s tweet. When you get home you might be surprised by the number of replies you received while you were working.
7. Take a nap
Almost everyone’s personal energy levels take a dip in the afternoons, so why not catch a quick cat nap? Studies show that just a 15 or 20 minute nap can help you to clear out your “working” memory and refresh your ability to think more clearly. No more than 20 minutes or you might feel groggy instead of refreshed. See perfect nap guide.
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8. Get a bit of exercise
OK, maybe trying to burn 900 calories during your lunch break isn’t a great idea, but just taking a 15 or 20 minute walk can really help you in the afternoons. Light to moderate exercise can help you feel better by getting you out of the office and boosting your circulation so that your brain has a fresh supply of blood to keep you going all afternoon.
One study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, showed that a 20 minute meditation break reduced stress in both body and mind. If you are feeling the pressure at work, try a bit of meditation.
10. You deserve a break today
Not at that junky food place, but because taking breaks is important. There have been numerous reports about how sitting for long periods is detrimental to the body and the brain. It causes a lot more than just secretary spread! Even if you don’t eat much at lunch, use this opportunity to stretch, walk around, talk to co-workers, call your spouse on the phone as you take a walk and tell them that you love them. Why not?