Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day, but what about the beloved lunch break? Well, it seems many Brits are using this blessed portion of free time to eat at their desks or to skip lunch altogether. This is according to experts and recent studies that have concluded that skipping lunch can be harmful to your health, and can also affect your work ethic. Thankfully these habits can be easily broken, and there are so many ways to enjoy your lunch break that doesn't include staying within the confines of your workspace.
According to The Sun, only three per cent of Brits take an hour-long break, "with 52 per cent grabbing no more than ten minutes." This is also supported by a study conducted in 2017, where job site TotalJobs surveyed over 7,000 people and found that more than half of the respondents didn't take their full lunch break and that "a third of UK employees never leave their workplace after they arrive in the morning." While that probably doesn't seem so alarming, it is when you realise what you're doing by depriving your body of well-earned rest in the middle of the workday.
By speaking to several experts, Sun reporter Claire Dunwell found that not taking a lunch break (or taking a shorter one than you're allotted) can result in issues with your posture, bone structure, sleep, and overall happiness. As life coach Louise Cartwright explained:
"Feeling pressured to skip lunch to finish work promotes a continual state of stress in the body. Combine this with unnatural amounts of time sitting down, artificial lighting and excessive screen time, employees become trapped in a situation that is having a profound, negative impact on their wellbeing. We are more productive when we take regular breaks."
What you've got to remember is that taking a break does not mean that you just stop working for an hour — it's also a chance for you to leave your desk to relax in a different environment. This could be meeting up with colleagues or friends at a local coffee shop, or just eating your lunch in an outside space. This was proven in a 2013 study by the University of Queensland highlighted by TotalJobs, which found that "people who took a lunch break in a restaurant with colleagues or friends reported feeling more relaxed afterwards than people who had lunch on their own in the office."
By moving around and getting some fresh air even for just an hour, your body will definitely feel the benefit. "Our bodies are designed to move, but many of us are employed in sedentary occupations," physio consultant Julia Barber told The Sun. Barber continued:
"Research suggests active breaks with postural changes may be effective in reducing pain and discomfort as well as preventing our backs and muscles from tightening up in the first place."
So as appealing as it may be to stay at your desk and multitask with lunch and work, venturing outside for your midday break will benefit you more than you may think.