Take a Break and Step Away from your Desk

Photo by Thomas Litangen on Unsplash

The modern life that we live in is so fast paced that often times we think that we don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish our task. Which is why a vast majority of office workers make the “sacrifice” of eating alone at their table and schlepping through their work like there is no tomorrow.

Unfortunately, though it may sound like a good idea in your head it doesn’t really make much of a difference in your productivity and could actually be hurting you mentally and physically. The breaks and lunch hours aren’t there to stop our momentum at work; they are there to ensure that we are at our best at work.

Here six reasons why taking a break and not eating lunch at your desk will help your health and productivity.

1. De-stress and Refresh: Stepping away from your desk and computer clears and reboots your mind, a study led by Dr. Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani found that a 30-min midday stroll lowers the stress levels of desk workers and made them feel more enthusiastic about their work. Additionally, stepping away from what is stressing you can give you inspiration and could lead to developing solutions.

2. Decrease long-term health risk: Sitting down is good, but a prolonged sedentary work life can lead to larger health concerns, namely it can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Further, your sitting position could actually shift your pancreas to produce more insulin, which due to inactivity your sedentary muscles cannot process and could potentially lead to diabetes.

3. Don’t cloud your judgment: A condition called “Foggy Brain” or simply brain fatigue can be mild to severe episode of mental confusion that can strike without warning. This can occur when you are stuck on your desk thinking and it can lead to a lack of focus, poor memory recall and reduced mental acuity, which could ultimately lead to mental burnout. This occurs when fresh blood isn’t pumped to the brain, which slows down its function. A simple fix to this condition is a stroll; it will speed up the pumping of blood to your brand and will get your mind clear and going.

4. Stop and smell the roses: The world that we live in actually rejuvenates us, a leisurely stroll tells the brain to produce stress-fighting chemicals called endorphins that will make you feel more relaxed. Good out to places like parks have far larger benefits that we think, seeing green for one brings us into a meditative state and relaxes us, sunshine jumpstarts the production of serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is connected to our mood and happiness.

5. We are social creatures: People often feel unfulfilled and unhappy with their jobs because they have nothing to look forward to, often feeling like no one can relate to your struggles. Getting to know and having lunch with your coworkers actually, have a bigger value that you expect, Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab stated ‘‘Workplace satisfaction is so much higher if you eat with your colleagues…You like your job more — and you like your colleagues better.’’ There is a reason why food and eating have been central to our existence, it is where we connect and share with others.

6. Be You: We tend to separate our personal lives from our professional lives and because we feel like we are running out of time we tend to stay in our professional state far longer than we should. Not eating at your desk lets you step away for a few moments and allows you to be you, listening to your tracks, meditating, reading a few lines from a book brings the “you” that you like out and thus allowing you to feel like a new person when you get back from your break.

Taking a break from your desk isn’t actually a waste of time; rather it is a welcome addition to your day. Breaks are there because they allow you to manage your schedule as it gives you a point of perspective, helping you better manage your time and be more efficient at work. It also allows you to step away from the monotony and helps add flavor to your standard day. Stepping away for a bit also allows you to recalibrate your mind and help you refresh, beyond your mental health it lowers your risk of potentially fatal diseases. But the biggest impact it has is that it allows you to be you.