It’s a sad fact that eating our lunches at our desk has become an accepted norm. Apart from being unhealthy - just think of all those germs and rotting bits of food that fall onto your desk or trapped in your keyboard...
Studies have shown that ‘working through’ lunch breaks actually makes you less effective at work. So it’s time to reclaim your lunch hour and it will benefit you, your life and the company you work for.
When we are sitting at our desks you are actually programming your mind and body to feel bad. Eyes are cast downwards, staring at a screen which encourages you to access our feelings and self talk, and if we aren’t enjoying ourselves then thats not going to be very positive is it? Also staying still in a seat puts pressure on our bodies and impacts how we digest food, our joints and muscles. Just moving around for a few minutes every hour can make a massive difference.
Taking a break from work has many healthy, psychological and emotional benefits. It’s not about doing ‘nothing’ with your lunch hour, but switching your mind onto something different allows you to refresh your mind, making you more effective later. Remember times when you have a problem and decide to ‘sleep on it’ and then in the morning the answer comes, the same applies to work related issues and problems, taking a break stimulates different parts of your brain and which is what happens when those lightbulb ideas happen!
Here are some tips to making more of your lunch hour which will stimulate your mind, body and spirit:
- One lunch break a week take lunch with someone you have seen around the office but not spoken to before. The quality of relationships in the workplace is the single most important factor in workplace wellbeing, with companies where coworkers have good relationships have significantly lower levels of workplace stress than those that don’t.
- Studies have shown the benefits of practicing meditation, mindfulness and hypnosis for rejuvenating the brain, balancing our emotions and giving us access to our creativity. Make the most of your lunch time by taking 15 minutes to do this. Don’t do it at your desk you’ll get constant interruptions. Find a quiet spot, could be outside or even in your car, take a few deep breaths and be still. As thoughts come to your mind just acknowledge them and let them float on by. You could even use a hypnosis download to help guide you, download ours for free here. It’s a cheap and easy way to get an instant mind and body energy boost.
- Eating your lunch at your desk is unhealthy on many levels and it can actually contribute to you putting on weight and digestion problems. Our bodies are not programmed to digest food well under stress, just looking at your inbox can bring on medium to high levels of stress. So it’s important to eat when relaxed, take a few deep breaths before you start eating, eat slowly and chew your food well.
- Give your finances a make over. Are your energy bills competitive? Review your bank account, where could you save money? Could you be saving more? How are your investments or pensions doing? If you don’t have some maybe think about starting. Money is one of the top causes of stress and worry and people who review their finances regularly, tend to feel more in control and positive about their finances than those who spend their lunch breaks internet shopping (you know who you are!)
- Start a lunchtime Yoga or Pilates class. Yoga and Pilates are mostly non sweaty - so no bad hair or smells in the afternoon! Even a short half hour class can bring balance to your mind and help keep you fit at the same time. There are lots of local yoga teachers who can provide group sessions at work.
- Taking a 15 minute walk at lunchtime is great way to avoid the need for the gym workout later and it gets your brain buzzing. Get the most out of your lunchtime walk by asking yourself a ‘ How can I …’ question before you set out; for example ‘How can I put this proposal across in the best way?’ or “How can I be more effective at work?’ Asking questions of yourself and then doing some exercise encourages your mind to think creatively and come up with new answers. That’s what happens when we have spontaneous good idea. Give it a try and see what happens.
- Learn in your lunch hour. Join one of our free lunchtime webinars on NLP or Time Management.
Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, John is also a Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. His new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.