I am a pro at the five-minute/nonexistent lunch. If I don’t make a conscious decision to get up at a certain time and stay away from my desk for 30 minutes, I won’t. I’ll stand just long enough to fish my lunch from the fridge, and then return to my seat, where I will nibble distractedly all the while continuing to work. I’m not alone. Most adults don’t “take lunch”. They eat at their desks, sifting through e-mails, finishing reports or returning phone calls. If they do leave their offices, it’s for a brief moment, certainly not the hour lunch used to be. And this is a problem.
Lunch breaks give you an opportunity to step away from the stress and intensity of your job. You have the chance to relax, unwind and recoup after a morning of go, go, go. Your brain rests for a moment, repairing itself much like it does in sleep. You are given the chance to move your body and remind yourself that your legs do more than form a lap. In all, you recharge, making your afternoon more productive than it would be otherwise.
Make sense, so far? I would think so. I would hope that I have at least made a case for turning off your monitor for 30 minutes every day. Now, I’d like to convince you to leave your desk.
You see, eating at your desk inspires mindless munching. You’re more likely to eat past the point of satiety. You’re also more likely to eat food that’s lacking in nutrients. After all, you need something that you can easily consume and won’t require time to make i.e. takeout. So you order lunch, and as you bite into the probably fat-filled sandwich you take in a healthy dose of bacteria. Your desk is 400 times dirtier than most toilet seats. Placing your meal on it is the equivalent of wiping it with germs. And if you get distracted, forgetting that your open lunch is sitting beside you, well, you might as well spread the bacteria on with your mayonnaise. It would save time.
So get up and go elsewhere when lunchtime rolls around. If you must eat at your desk, be conscious of what you’re eating – nutrition and bacteria-wise. Bring a placemat to create a bigger germ barrier. Bring your own, homemade concoction to create a bigger calorie barrier. Then for 30 minutes (60 if you can), relax. Don’t think about work. Talk with your officemates. Catch up on the water-cooler gossip. Chances are someone did something last night that’s worth a half an hour of gab.
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