If you’re looking for one simple thing that you can do every day to improve your health, it’s this: take a lunch break.
I know what you’re thinking: “I’m way too busy for that.”
Here’s the thing: giving yourself a real break, even if it’s a quick one, will not negatively impact your productivity – and in fact it will actually help it. Here are 3 big reasons why you need to take a lunch break.
1) You will be more satisfied by what you are eating – and you might eat less, too.
As you guys know, I’m a big proponent of intuitive and mindful eating. (I even offer a 6 week intuitive and mindful eating course.) Mindful eating, which basically just means actually paying attention and focusing on the experience of eating (see also: a guide to mindful eating), will help you to savor your meal and allow you to listen for cues your body sends you when it is full and has had enough. It’s hard to enjoy your meal and avoid eating past fullness when you don’t even realize you’re eating because you’re focused on your email. Have you ever had that “Wait, is that already gone?” thought with food you’ve eaten while distracted?
In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that distracted eaters felt significantly less full after lunch than those who ate without distractions. They also ate about twice as many cookies 30 minutes later than those who ate lunch without distractions.
Pictured above: Lemony Spinach Quinoa Bean Salad – simple packed lunch idea!
2) Multitasking is bad for us.
It’s becoming pretty obvious that multitasking is not good for us, and yet it seems more and more prevalent. Our constant need to feel connected paired with overwhelming to do lists tempt us to try to juggle it all at once – and to go ahead and eat lunch while we’re at it, too – but all that multitasking is not doing us any favors personally or professionally. In fact, multitasking makes us less productive – and more stressed.
A recent study of over 1,000 workers at a British company from the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London even found that multitasking with electronic media caused a greater decrease in IQ than smoking pot or losing a night’s sleep. Wow. Crazy, right?
3) Changing your environment will positively impact the rest of your day.
Even if you aren’t actually eating during your lunch break, taking a short walk will do wonders for your mood – in a fact, research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that walking increases creativity!
Studies also show that even brief breaks will vastly improve focus – so you will be more productive if you allow yourself a break than if you try to power through and skip it.
Bottom line: taking a lunch break will make you healthier and happier. In addition to increasing productivity and focus, taking a break will also allow you to fully savor your lunch, decreasing the likelihood of overeating – and increasing satisfaction. It will also give you a chance to sneak more movement into your day! Even better – have lunch (or take that walk) with a coworker. In addition to boosting mood, strong social ties in the workplace will also boost productivity – and lead to potential collaboration!
So – close that laptop, push back your chairs, and take your lunch break, whether long or short. Every minute will help. :)
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Thank you to Kura for sponsoring this post! Kura is your perfect protein powder from grass-fed dairy: GMO and gluten-free, with natural ingredients and no added sugar. Check out my Lemon Ginger Berry Protein Smoothie for some recipe inspiration! And on the subject of breaks from the workday, I love making simple snack balls by mixing equal parts rolled oats, almond butter, and Kura protein powder (usually vanilla or chocolate flavor) with a splash of pure maple syrup for sweetness and a splash of water to help them bind. They make a great afternoon snack – or even a stand-in lunch for chaotic days!
Click here to see where you can buy KURA near you (they are now available in CVS, which is convenient!) – and click here to download a printable coupon good for $3 off a KURA product. You can redeem it at any retailer that stocks KURA. And if you can’t find it near you, it’s also available on Amazon. :)