Here’s why you need to take a lunch break today
In our efficiency-driven world, leaving your desk to eat may seem like a thing of the past, and skipping lunch has become common. But while it may feel more productive to work through lunch, you could be harming your health.
Job-related stress can be caused by being overwhelmed by deadlines or taking on too much work and can put a strain on your body, both physically and mentally. The American Psychological Association (APA) cautions that job-related stress can cause burnout—a state of emotional exhaustion due to being overworked. Coupled with a lack of physical activity, people who work too hard for too long may find themselves at higher risk of depression, weight gain and high blood pressure.
To manage job-related stress and prevent health issues, the APA recommends making the most of provided breaks at work. Leave your desk to get lunch, go for a short walk around or just take a minute to close your eyes and breathe.
Dr. Georgios Karanastasis, an internal medicine physician on staff at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill., says that taking a lunch break away from your desk can also help you make healthier choices.
“When you are stressed, you are more likely to choose foods that are easily accessible and less nutritious, like food from vending machines or frozen meals,” says Dr. Karanastasis. “In the long run, leaving your desk for lunch can help you maintain a healthier diet and make it less likely you’ll develop stress-related physical or mental conditions.”
While your ability to take a relaxing lunch break may depend on your line of work, Dr. Karanastasis recommends prioritizing it, if at all possible.
“If it’s not the norm in your work place, consider talking to your supervisor or human resources department about your options,” says Dr. Karanastasis. “Happier, healthier employees are likely to be more productive in the long-term. Having adequate break time during the work day is really in everyone’s best interest.”
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.