Lunch break. Why you should.

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What ever happened to taking our well deserved lunch break?  Fewer Canadian workers are taking time for lunch. Studies show that only one in five people take a break and leave their desks to eat. Most workers are simply eating at their desks and never leaving the office until it is time to go home.

Your heavy workload and tight deadlines may make it seem impossible to take any break let alone a full lunch hour, but if you are serious about your productivity and performance levels, you should make it a priority.

Taking a break after spending a busy morning at your desk is probably one of the most important decisions you can make in a day.

Here are some things that you can do, to refresh your mind, body and soul to have a more effective afternoon:

Go for a walk.

It might seem like a paradox (and the last thing you might feel like doing) but a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. There are obvious health benefits to getting away from work and out into the fresh air. It boosts circulation and increases the oxygen supply to each and every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive.

Going for a simple walk at lunchtime makes people feel more enthusiastic, less fatigued, and less stressed about their jobs in the afternoon than they felt in the morning.  Give it a try and see the difference it can make.

Catch up with some friends.

If you have a friend who works nearby, try to meet him or her during lunch occasionally. Your personal life needs tending to just as much as your work-life does, so be sure to take the spare time you have and use it to fulfill your personal needs. Your midday break is a good opportunity to catch up and socialize, face to face. You will most likely leave the lunch date with a smile on your face and feeling really good about yourself. This is the best medicine for a clear and focused mind to be most productive for your afternoon tasks.

Personal errands.

Some errands, like going to the bank or grocery store to pick up a few things can be done during your lunch hour. This will free up some of your time in the evenings and weekends. Be strategic and use your lunch break to accomplish some of those personal errands that usually have you scrambling in the evening hours.  But be careful not to squeeze too many personal errands into your lunch break or you’ll just end up swapping one stress for another kind of stress without getting the re-energizing benefits a good break can offer. This will help alleviate the constant run-around after work, giving you the opportunity to have more time to relax in the evening.

Network.

Even if you’re perfectly happy in your job, and you’re not looking for a new one, it can’t hurt to continuously build and maintain your professional network. This is critical to success in any line of work, however, finding the time to connect with those in your network can be tough. Lunch is an excellent time to continue to build relationships and network with others whether that is by having lunch with them or calling them to catch up.

Sit on a park bench.

Plain and simple. Get outside and grab the nearest park bench. Dress appropriately and have a seat. This is a great time to think about things, clear your head and take some deep breaths. Re-juvinate.

Try not to be a super-hero by chaining yourself to the desk for eight hours straight for the sake of being a hard worker or checking off another to-do item from a list that will never end whether you take a break or not. You’ll pay for it later when you cannot concentrate by 3 p.m causing your productivity to come spiraling down. This will leave you feeling exhausted and frustrated. Your company has given you an allotted lunch break for a reason, you should take full advantage of it.

What are your thoughts on taking a daily lunch break?

Do you see it as a valuable or a waste of time?

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