5 Reasons Not to Skip Your Lunch Break

Lunch may be the most important meal of the day.



(Lyubov Levitskaya / Shutterstock.com)

Taking a lunch break is something everyone should be doing during their workday. Not only is it important to refuel the body and mind, but taking an hour’s break out of that 9-5 can actually help enhance productivity, reduce stress levels, and even boost overall morale. There are numerous benefits to creating some downtime during the busy day. Here are five reasons to start clocking out for that noontime meal. 

Mindful eating
Mindful eating can keep overeating and weight gain at bay, according to mindbodygreen. Eating while distracted can lead to disordered eating habits and a poor diet. Taking a working lunch means being focused on meetings, research, drafting an email, or other work tasks while scarfing down that sandwich. Taking the time off for lunch allows for a restful, mindful meal.

Not only is mindful eating good for mental health, Kim Kulp RDN, tells mindbodygreen that it’s important for digestive health as well. “Any sort of stress can impair digestion,” Kulp explains. That’s because when people are calm their digestive enzymes are more readily released. Mindful eating is a great way to ensure that meals are a stress-free and restful affair.

Keep fatigue at bay
Kulp adds that a mindful, nourishing, and healthy lunch can also prevent an afternoon slump. "Taking time in the middle of a busy day to eat a relaxing meal can improve the communication between the gut and the brain," she explains. "During digestion, the gut releases neurotransmitters that talk to the brain and can affect mood. Having a more relaxing lunch can lead to feeling happier and more energized."

In addition, Entrepreneur reports that an afternoon break is a great chance to get a short siesta in. Splitting the lunch hour between a mindful, nutrient-packed meal and a 30-minute catnap is a perfect recipe for an alert and productive afternoon.

Get things done
According to Entrepreneur, workaholics, or those with busy schedules who rarely have time to take care of personal needs, will benefit from taking 20-30 minutes in the afternoon to get errands done. Schedule that doctor's appointment, meet up with a friend, or run out to the grocery store for dinner supplies. Push these things off and they may never happen.

Get up, get out, and get moving
Silicon Republic suggests going outdoors, when possible, during lunch time. Nature and natural scenes can improve focus and getting fresh air has its own benefits. Fresh air may aid in processing information and making decisions. 

According to mindbodygreen, it is also a chance to not just get outside, but to get moving. Research shows that physical activity following a meal improves blood sugar control. And, for people with hectic work schedules, that lunch break may be the opportunity to get their daily physical activity in.

Build relationships
Silicon Republic suggests that lunch is also a great chance for workers to bond with their co-workers and boost work relationships. Having friends at work is key for job satisfaction and can make collaboration and team projects more successful.

It may seem counterproductive, but mindbodygreen suggests that workers are more productive after taking a lunch break. Therapist Paige Rechtman tells MindBodyGreen, “Clearing your head midday can help you return to work with a fresh perspective.” 

Taking some me-time to reset in the afternoons during a busy day helps in facing the rest of the day with a clear head and a relaxed mindset. Not to mention, lunch is a great time to get non-work things done, like exercise, relationship building, or personal errands. As always, a healthy and productive environment starts with investing in oneself. 

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