Sometimes it feels like our life is consumed by work, right? This is when giving your mind, body and spirit a break from time to time is so important.
The most common mistake people make during particularly busy weeks is skipping their hard-earned lunch breaks.
Skipping lunch means not only depriving your body of food throughout the long, tough work day, but also means not giving your mind a much-needed break from work!
Think about good and bad habits and how quickly bad habits can be formed. Just a few days of skipping your midday break during a busy project can lead to a terribly bad habit of always skipping out lunch.
Read on for some inspiration to remind you of the importance of your lunch break every day to avoid having detrimental effects on your physical and mental health.
The most obvious reason you won’t want to skip your next lunch break is because your body needs food to work properly!
Sure, the human body can go for longer than an afternoon without food, but why put your body through the physical pain of no food if you don’t have to? Hunger fogs up the mind and messes with your mental acuity.
The word, “hangry” – hungry and angry put together – is now a word in the dictionary for a reason.
When your body wants food and is expecting to be fed, it can fight back with intense hunger pains. This hunger can interrupt your thoughts, stopping your work in it’s tracks and slowing down that important project you are working on.
Skipping any type of break can tire you out quickly, especially when you aren’t giving your body fuel to keep going.
Similar to a caffeine boost from your morning cup of coffee, your body needs a boost from the food it would get from lunch. Not eating at regular intervals throughout the day increases sluggishness, making you less productive.
To keep your productive levels high throughout the day, it also helps to eat the right thing (although anything is better than nothing).
Choose a healthy balance of vegetables and carbohydrates to keep you full until your next meal while still giving your body the important vitamins and nutrients it needs.
Healthy fats such as avocados or nuts are a great way to get some nutrients to give you the boost to get you through the day.
Stepping away from your computer screen or work desk is so important for eye health.
The American Optometric Association explains computer vision syndrome (or digital eye strain) as a host of uncomfortable maladies that occur from looking at a computer screen for too long each day.
While they recommend using the 20-20-20 method, where you take 20 seconds to look 20 feet away from your screen every 20 minutes, imagine what a whole hour lunch break could do for your eyes! Imagine having to lift weights for hours on end, with no break in sight (no pun intended).
That’s what it’s like for your eyes, always having to focus on your computer screen or work surface. Taking some time in the middle of the work day to give your eyes a break can go a long way.
According to Women’s Health Magazine, skipping meals actually slows down your metabolism.
This means your body makes up for not being fed by storing fat and taking longer to process any foods that it does receive, making you gain weight and confusing your body’s intricate systems.
Of course, when your physical body is out of whack, the rest of the day can see increasing negative effects.
This is especially evident when it comes time for dinner, as you are more likely to overeat. Eating too much before bed can cause restlessness and sleep problems, and then the next day you wake up tired and groggy.
Is skipping one lunch worth the overeating, tiredness and loss of productivity for the next 24 hours?
A great reason to not skip lunch is that you have things to do, places to go, and people to see!
Running errands during your lunch break isn’t ideal for every day, but there are some days where you just have to tick some things off the to-do list.
Why wait until the end of a long work day to get these things taken care of? Being productive on your time away from work can give you a buzz of energy.
The important thing to remember is to not skip eating just because you have errands to run!
Grabbing a healthy meal on-the-go while getting stuff done has a way of leaving you feeling refreshed and accomplished.
Another great way to spend your lunch break is to have a social visit.
Have a quick lunch away from the office with a colleague, or plan to meet a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
Taking the mind and body away from work for just a little bit can recharge you enough to get through the rest of the day.
Similarly, changing your focus to someone else can help you put things in perspective and remove stress from your current day.
Arriving back after lunch out with a friend also gets you in the mood to do it again, so you are more likely to plan more outings in the near future.
This makes for positive habits as you won’t feel the need to skip your lunch break again.
Having enough time to eat a well-balanced light meal during lunchtime is the main goal for your lunch break.
If you can get a quick workout in there, even better! Your productivity post-workout will increase, as will your energy. A quick sweat session can clear the mind, body and spirit better than anything.
It is recommended to have your lunch after the workout, noshing on protein and carbohydrates to boost your body’s systems.
A key ingredient here is water; be sure you are staying well-hydrated before, during and after your workout.
Bad habits are easy to form and hard to break. Try as hard as you can to not miss even one lunch during the week, as this can cause a snowball effect on your mental and physical well-being.
Planning out your meals on the weekend for the entire week might sound daunting, but splitting it up can help. Make a quick lunch on Sunday for the next two days such as sweet potatoes and frozen vegetables.
Plan a Wednesday lunch out as a pick me up halfway through the week. Then plan to make a sandwich for Thursday, and treat yourself to a store-bought salad or wrap on Friday for making it through a week of not skipping lunches.
Once this becomes habit you’ll have no excuse to miss your lunch break again!