Ditch the Al-Desko Dining – Why a lunch break should be a clean break

For many Aussie office workers, a lunch break means downing a take-out sandwich or stir-fry at your desk, while you spend 20 minutes checking out the sports or news websites. Then it’s back to work, and that’s only if you haven’t been interrupted by an email alert or a fellow colleague needing something from you NOW.

While this may seem like an efficient way of fuelling your body and your brain when you have deadlines to meet, it may not be the case. Here are a few reasons to get outside in the fresh air and have a clean break from work at lunchtime.

Your productivity and positive mood will increase

A research study by Hays showed that a large proportion of people believe their employer will think they’re more committed if they eat at their desk.  The same study revealed that even a short break of just 15 minutes away from work can increase productivity levels. Having a quick break from work and getting in some physical activity will recharge the brain and get those happy hormones firing. A lunchtime walk can improve enthusiasm, relaxation and mood for the rest of the day, a study showed.

You’ll be less stressed

At Ritualize, we have a Green Time ritual and for good reason. Spending time outside in nature has long been associated with lower stress levels. If you work near a park it’s probably the best place to spend your lunch-break, especially if you are having a stressful day. Having a pot plant on your desk has also been shown to improve employee wellbeing.

You’ll eat more mindfully

Another ritual we encourage is mindful eating. Picture this. You’re at your computer in the middle of an important email, only to break for a few seconds to pick up your salad sandwich, take a big bite before your focus returns to the email. Before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole sandwich without even realising it.  When you are focussed on what’s on your screen, it’s taking your awareness away from what you are eating which can slow down your digestion and your satiety. Emerging research is also suggesting that eating mindfully, or slower and more thoughtfully, could affect your food choices.

Your social life may increase

Eating lunch at your desk means eating lunch solo. There’s a lot of evidence out now to link social connectedness to happiness. Going out with fellow work colleagues and socialising could increase your mood and help get you through the afternoon with less stress.

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