The lunch break is a time-honored tradition in the workplace. It’s your chance to spend an hour with your colleagues shooting the breeze and preparing for the rest of the day. Or at least that’s what it once was all about. Today, people are eating at their desks and even not taking lunch breaks at all. Only 29% of employees receive a full hour.
Your lunch hour is more important than you think, and this guide is going to show you why.
Food for Better Brain Function
Your brain function and your ability to take on those difficult tasks are reliant on the concentration-inducing foods you take in. You are what you eat and if what you eat is a fatty burger you are going to struggle to get through the day. Even worse, you may not be eating at all because you’re trying to lose weight.
Your lunch hour should be filled with fruit, vegetables, dark chocolate, oily fish, and other nutritional foods that can boost brain function. The amount of glucose you take in will influence how productive you are for the rest of the day.
Breaks Lead to Concentration
Lunch at your desk is becoming more and more common. That’s not a break because you are still sitting with your work. A real workplace break is about getting out of the same stale environment you’ve been sitting in for the entire day. More and more companies are demanding that employees sit at their desks. That’s not a break and it’s going to lead to an inevitable crash sooner or later.
Taking a break for twenty minutes away from your desk will sustain your energy levels throughout your day. It will help you to maintain and increase concentration for those little tasks later on.
The longer you attempt to operate without a break the more your psychological resources are going to recede away.
Meditation and yoga have become so popular because of their positive effects on mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially about giving your mind a break. Monkey mind is becoming more and more common in the world of today. People don’t have calm minds and they can’t get them under control. And this makes it harder to concentrate on a specific task.
Mindfulness training doesn’t have to involve yoga or meditation during your lunch hour, even though it can. To take advantage of mindfulness training, just eat. Do nothing else but eat. Focus on one task to boost your ability to concentrate on a single task going forward.
Taking a Short Nap to Improve Your Memory
Some people decide to take twenty minutes to have a nap. There are colleagues that think they may have failed to get enough sleep the night before. The truth is that even if you have a full rest at night a nap in the middle of the day can have a huge number of benefits, and a number of companies are opening up to the benefits of napping.
A second short sleep in the afternoon will reset your body’s internal clock. Your body’s internal clock is responsible for making you feel tired. Napping essentially slows down this process. Studies have also shown that by napping and resetting the body clock you are less likely to forget things throughout the day.
It’s no coincidence that by the time 4pm comes around people are unable to function at their best. They have stopped remembering those important tasks and they are no longer being productive.
The Best Time for Exercise
Taking lunch allows you to fit in some time for exercise. The human body clock determines that the best time to indulge in some exercise is in the early afternoon. When you take your lunch break, you are taking it at a time when your body has reached peak physical performance.
Your lungs are going to perform better and you will be able to function at a high level for longer. Exercising right now will keep you energized during your work day, reduce stress, and even build confidence.
You won’t necessarily see any physical changes, but you’ll definitely be able to feel them.
Last Word – Take Your Break
Corporations are actively discouraging employees from taking lunch breaks. Some of them have even demanded that workers eat at their desks and continue to work. Sadly, in the US this is perfectly legal and most employees won’t make a fuss.
For the sake of your productivity and sanity, take your break. You may lose that reputation for being a hard worker, but your health is far more important.
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About the Author
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify