I know taking time for a lunch break might seem a bit crazy. We have meetings, emails to catch up on, long overdue projects, etc. We are busy, but taking the time to enjoy your lunch and giving yourself a real break will not only allow you to slow down and take a breather, but it will also boost your productivity! Here’s how:
Food is intended to be shared. Sitting down with co-workers for a community lunch break will foster a sense of teamwork and cohesion that you will not get if you hang out at your desk diving head first into a giant mess of emails while simultaneously trying to shovel a burrito into your mouth. A recent study from Cornell University looked at how shared meals – like an office lunch or office breakfast – among firefighters boosted their team building and allowed them to build stronger social ties with their peers. Sharing a meal together is a much more personal act than looking over an Excel spreadsheet in a meeting. That sense of unity spills back over into your work.
Here at Zesty, we offer healthy corporate catering that we always share together. Instead of eating at our desks or individual tables, we eat together at one large communal table. Our lunch break is one of the best ways to encourage cross-team bonding.
Picture this: it’s 1pm and you just grabbed your catered lunch from your office kitchen to bring back to your desk. You start checking your emails, scrolling through Instagram, and eating your lunch all at the same time. The next thing you know you look down and think, “where did my food go?” We’ve all been there.
We have this innate need to feel connected and never miss a beat. But when we try to do everything all at once and try to eat lunch at the same time, we become much less efficient. Multitasking and distracted eating can be a recipe for disaster. It often leads to poor quality work, missed deadlines, and increased stress – all of that paired with overeating! Several studies have found that distracted eating or eating on the go tend to make people eat more at that meal.
Take the time to sit and enjoy your meal. Mealtime should be something you look forward to everyday – something so much more than food on a plate. We want you to live to eat, not just eat to live. Savor your food, listen to your hunger and fullness cues, and enjoy the time you have to unplug. I bet you will notice that you eat less too!
Maybe you don’t want to use your lunch break to just eat lunch, and that’s fine! After lunch, use your time wisely and get moving. Taking a short walk, stretching, doing jumping jacks, or even yoga will do wonders for your mood, stress levels, and focus. Bonus points for getting outside! Studies show that brief breaks allow you to deactivate and reactivate your goals and stay focused on your tasks.
So close that laptop, head over to the kitchen, and sit down for a good meal and even better conversation with your co-workers. What are you waiting for? Let’s eat!