Work gets busy, meetings are slotted into your online calendar, and before you know it, your lunch break has been absorbed into the working day. There are even working lunches with people gobbling snacks in meetings while conducting important business. It is important to have that break from your work, even if you are working from home in the "new normal." Here's how to preserve your lunch break for a healthier lifestyle.
Why breaks are Important
Having a break from work is important for health reasons. Sedentary behavior in workers is on the increase and can lead to several serious medical conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. A break gives you time to be more active. If you don't take a break, you are less focused on work and not as productive. You can become dehydrated and tire easily, and are more susceptible to stress.
Make Lunch Part of the Culture
If you are in a position of influence in your workplace, making it normal and acceptable to take a break is very important. Set some ground rules, make some space away from the desks where people can eat, and make it normal to sit down, relax and enjoy a break. Make a point of saying: "I am going to lunch, " so it becomes the norm and an expected thing.
Don't Eat at the Desk
Aside from being unhygienic, eating at the desk does not allow you a break to refresh your mind and eat something nourishing. You will invariably be checking emails between bites and not relaxing as you should be. It is also unhealthy as it does not allow you to get up, walk around and avoid sedentary behavior. Step away, find somewhere to enjoy your food, and come back later.
It is easy to prepare something to eat the evening before you go to work. Leftover pasta, a salad or a sandwich are all simple to prepare, bring in a lunch box, and store before your break. You then have something delicious to look forward to during the day. It also stops you from grabbing chocolate or fast food during the day.
Make the Space
Workers have a mandatory amount of time for a legal break in the workplace. Block yours out in the electronic diary so another meeting can't take place at that time. It then becomes the norm to use that space to chill out after a busy morning, eat something, and prepare for the afternoon.
Do Something in Your Break
There are a number of things you can do in a lunch break apart from eat. Take a walk round the block, go to a nearby shop, or sit and read in a park. Some workplaces have knitting groups or walking days when an event has been arranged to help people relax during lunch. Don't just sit at your computer.
Meal breaks are an important part of the working day. They refresh the brain and keep us healthy and nourished. Make sure you take time to enjoy your lunch today!