Hey, you. The one glued to your computer screen and typing away on your keyboard between bites of your lunch. Put down the food. Walk away from your desk and give yourself some time to actually focus on eating your lunch instead of half-working, half-eating.
Have a proper lunch break. You deserve it
Now I do not mean this in a “treat yourself” kind of way. You literally deserve your lunch break. Every single person does. Now, this may sound simple enough but during my time in various office environments, the amount of people I have seen eating their lunch at their desk is concerning. I am also guilty of this!
I get it. There is always so much to do. What’s the point of taking a whole hour just to eat? You can just do this while you keep working. It feels more productive to work through your lunch instead of taking a proper break. Furthermore, there is this notion that if you move away from your desk to take a break all of your colleagues will silently judge you for not being a ‘hard worker’. Which is obviously ludicrous.
This plays into the idea that by coming to work and spending as much time as possible at your desk shows your dedication and work ethic. People who come in early and stay late are often viewed as harder workers or that they take their job more seriously than those who finish on time. This status quo needs to be changed.
In today’s society, stress levels and anxiety are extremely prevalent. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is vital.
We need to overcome this notion that the best workers are those who stay at the office until all hours and work through their breaks. This is nonsense. You should leave on time. You should take your lunch break. Research has demonstrated repeatedly that we are not meant to be working constantly without any breaks. If you take your breaks, your work will be better as a result. The human brain cannot focus for long periods and needs a break to think about other things aside from work, so that when you return to your work you are refreshed.
If you’re overworked and have spent your lunch hour half-eating and half working you’re less inclined to pick up on mistakes and you will struggle with problem solving. Going through your emails or staring at your computer while you eat does not help either. It may make you look busy but it is actually ruining your productivity and mental health.
Attempting to work through your lunch break isn’t clever or productive or a sign that you’re a harder worker than your colleagues. It’s merely a sign that you don’t value yourself as anything more than just a worker. Everyone needs a rest to think about something other than work. Your lunch hour is your time. You can read. You can run errands. You can fit in a workout. You can do anything that makes you feel good aside from doing work. Your entire life is not your work and you are more than just a worker.
So carry that sandwich away from your desk loudly and proudly. Leave that phone at your desk and take the time to enjoy your break. And for goodness sake, stop scattering your keyboard with food spatter and crumbs. You are better than that. Here are a few tips on how to “De-stress during the work week.”