I was driving to work last week, listening to the Elvis Duran morning show, per usual. As I was sitting in lovely Cleveland traffic, the statement “Workers only take, on average, a 28-minute lunch break,” almost caused me to spit out my coffee. My next thought: 28 minutes? People actually take a 28-minute lunch break?
Most days, whether I’m working from home or at the office, I eat my lunch at my desk. (And it certainly doesn’t take me 28 minutes.) But the more I got to thinking about this, the more it really bothered me. Maybe I’m making assumptions, but why should employees feel like they can’t take time off to eat lunch? Are we really that busy, as a society, that taking just 30 minutes is out of the question?
Let me let you in on a little secret. I’ve actually been stepping away from my computer during lunch breaks ever since I heard this last week. (GASP!) And guess what? Nothing bad has happened. In fact, quite the opposite! Stepping away from my desk has been one of the best things I’ve done! Why? Because the human body needs a break. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re not a super human. You are allowed to give yourself time to not be focused on work during the day. Stepping away from your desk will allow your brain to recharge, essentially making you more creative and productive in the long run and making you happier. Who doesn’t want that?
We can get caught up in the “but I’m so busy” mindset, and yes, I’m guilty of this all the time! Or we can decide that we owe it to ourselves to make health and wellbeing a priority.
So before you tell me I’m crazy and that you could never not work through your lunch break: Yes, I know you’re busy. We’re all busy. But are you being productive? That is the real question.
Most times, I’ve realized I’m truly not productive at lunch time. And I’m certainly not focusing on the food I’m eating or whether or not I’m full. If we can’t take a few moments to ourselves to enjoy lunch, the fuel we need for the rest of the day, then we have bigger issues.
So please, even if you take just 30 minutes- step away from your desk, get away from your screen and enjoy having a meal where you can recharge and reset for the rest of the day.