How would you like an extra 6 weeks holiday from work a year? Sounds appealing. That’s how much time you’re missing out on by not taking a lunch break and according to Bupa, a staggering 70% of us aren’t taking one.
We often fall into the trap of working over a lunch break to get as much done as possible becuase taking an hour off when there’s a looming deadline would be crazy. However, working well doesn’t mean working consistently and taking that precious time off means you return feeling refreshed with renewed concentration. Some of the long-term benefits of taking a break:
Stay active: We spend an unhealthy amount of time sitting at our desks and long periods of sitting can lead to long-term health risks. This study shows taking lunch breaks led workers to experience less somatic symptoms, including headaches, eyestrain and lower back pain.
Brain power: When working through your lunch break, your brain doesn’t get the chance to recuperate and so you plough on through the afternoon with slightly foggy thinking. Getting outside and focusing on something other than the task in hand can really help refresh your perspective. This study shows the declining performance of a group that didn’t take a break whereas those who did step away remained focused during the entire experiment.
Raring to go: Research by the University of Bristol saw a 41% increase in motivation by those who were active on their lunch break, a perfect way to avoid that mid-afternoon tiredness. So don’t feel guilty about taking time away from the office, you’ll likely be more productive if you do.
Change in perspective: Stepping away for a break offers a new perspective on the challenges faced in the workplace. The timeout often enables you to shake off some of the stress, think about things outside of work and come back with a more positive outlook.
It’s easy to talk about the benefits of reclaiming your lunch break but how can you put this into practice and make the most of the hour?
Street Wisdom offers a practical application of mindfulness, the process enables you to step back, slow down and find a new perspective. It’s about noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary in every opportunity and in the busy world we live in, those opportunities can be few and far between. That’s why Street Wisdom is a perfect lunch break activity.
Got 15 mins? Leave your phone in the office, get outside and go for a wander with this very simple instruction in your mind: Notice the patterns.
We’d love to hear how you get on, let us know in the comments below.