Article: 5 ways to use lunck-break for your well-being

Employee Engagement

5 ways to use lunck-break for your well-being

The idea of a lunch-break is to take a break, not merely stuff food down your throat. Are you guilty of skipping your lunch-break?
5 ways to use lunck-break for your well-being

Our jobs taking a toll on our health is no news. Competition, stress, pressure, limited physical activity, and unhealthy eating habits are doing lasting damage to our bodies and minds, but, only with our consent. In the scope of this article, we will discuss a, not-very-often talked about, daily part of your job, which most people fail to turn into a wonderful opportunity of being better. It is, rightly guessed, the lunch-hour.

Last year, a report showed that over two-thirds of Britain workers spare less than 20 minutes for a lunch-break, and 28% do not take one at all. People were oblivious to the disadvantages of skipping their lunch during work, and hence, an informal Take Your Lunch Break Day was also held on 15th April. If a similar study is conducted in India, the results shouldn’t be vastly different. Look around and you will notice colleagues who revel in the concept of a ‘working-lunch’, which essentially means gulping food while sitting at your desk and simultaneously completing work, or having a work-meeting over food. Maybe the only thing worse than leaving an oil-trail (or a soiled tissue)at your desk, is giving the food a miss entirely. Agreed, the pressure is intense, but not taking the lunch-break will surely leave you worse off. 

Firstly, energy, in the form of food, is a physiological need, and the human body is not built to function efficiently without it for more than a few hours. Diverting the 30 minutes of lunch towards work might be tempting in the face of a looming deadline, but in the longer run, you will be able to accomplish less, for your brain will operate below par for the rest of the day. You need energy, in the right quantity and balance to be at your best. Secondly, the idea of a lunch-break is to take a ‘break’, not merely stuff food down your throat. Your mind, body and senses need to disconnect every once in a while to operate in full vigour. Every sport has a ‘break’ in the middle, to allow players to recharge and refocus, so that they can continue with the same consistency in performance. Your work, although not as physically demanding as running around on a field, takes a toll on your brain, in addition to inducing strain on your vision and muscles. Not being exposed to fresh air, sunlight, or not moving from your chair for the entire day, is bound to affect your physical capacity to work. 

If you too are guilty of missing out on lunch, you relinquish the right to blame the corporate environment for not helping you maintain a balance. In order to take the first step towards your well-being, you will first have to understand its value and make it a priority, even forcing yourself to take a break, if you have to do. Post this step, we have you covered, as you can establish the following practices to follow: 

Plan it

As naive it may sound, you need to have a loosely-structured plan to effectively utilise your break. It should happen at a fixed time every day, but shouldn't be timed to the last second. Avoid scheduling an uber important meeting immediately before or after lunch, because the former might stretch, and the latter will force you to cut your break prematurely and induce anxiety or stress. The planning isn't supposed to turn your break into another to-do in your day, but actually give you enough time frame so as to not force you to wolf down your food. Make arrangements for handling emergencies in your absence.
Added bonus: If you utilise your break efficiently, you can actually take out time to run personal errands.

Step Out

No matter how convenient it is, do not eat at yourdesk. Get some air and sun, or visit any open space - a park, or a courtyard. Don't fall into a rut by going to the same place, or eating from the same joint everyday. Change your patterns, try new options, and just don't make your break predictable or boring for yourself. And if you can, avoid work talk or a ‘critical’ over-analysis of what is going on in the office.
Added bonus: If you are new to the city or the area, explore the place around your office, and check out the best food joints. 

Catch up

It might sound obvious, or trivial, but reaching out to your friends, within your office in another department, or your college buddy in the nearby building, but it will do you good. Our lives do not leave as much time as we would like to spend time with like-minded people, and our loved ones. Giving a call back home, and having a word or two, will actually lift your spirit.
Added bonus: You will get an opportunity to complain all about your work troubles to someone who will always say you are right, and be on your side. Having a word about how your day is going, will give you a chance to review as well.

Watch out

For your health, what you eat, what you do while you are on the break. Eating out once in a while is fine, but don’t make it a habit, and carry a balanced meal from home. Give your eyes some rest and keep the screens away – that means no browsing through online shopping portals, and no streaming videos. Make sure you walk, even if you go around the building or the block, at least once.
Added bonus: Giving your lunch break the importance it deserves will force you to adopt creative measures to look after your health, whether it is looking for quick and healthy recipes, or figuring simple and compact work-out sessions.

Venture alone

Last but not the least; do not try to forcefully convert a lunch-break into a social thing. Going out with your colleagues everyday is not mandatory, and it is fine, recommended even to go out for lunch alone, at least once in a while. Take along a book; listen to a podcast, or your favourite music. Having an hour to yourself will give you some time to think, and review your work, and other things, mentally.
Added bonus: You will be save your lunch break from turning into an extended and informal work meeting. 

How you choose to spend your lunch-break depends a lot on the job that you do, your organisational culture, your office location, and very essentially your interests, but the fact of matter is that, you can make the most of it. You can easily make your lunch-break the most interesting part of your day, without keeping it too long or short. The basic aim should be to regain focus, refuel, feed your stomach, and revitalise your brain. Failing to utilise the break will have subtle, but visible, consequences on your performance, but more importantly, your health, and well-being.

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Topics: Employee Engagement

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