Reclaim your lunch break

It has been a while since I have worked for a company and not for myself, but I still remember it as a shock when moving to the UK and securing my first job, my precious lunch break became a luxury.

I come from a country where there is a fairly slow pace of life and, generally speaking, the workplace is quite relaxed, in fact, as a practice, almost every Italian company has one set hour for lunch break that everybody takes. It means that if anyone needs to call any office between 12pm and 2pm, there is a voicemail to greet you.
In Italy eating time is a big thing. It is a perfect time to socialise, enjoy food and take a break, therefore it needs time to be enjoyed properly. That means that we do not skip or do fast lunch breaks. In fact, I found shocking the little attention given to a time that, by the way, is not paid by my employer, so it should not be devoted to work.
Despite thinking that way, I slowly became accustomed and an accomplice of that unhealthy habit to accommodate the amount of work I was given. Skipping my lunch break became routine, even if rationally I never quite agreed with that practice.

The lunch break campaign launched by The Stylist

Reading The Stylist a couple of weeks ago, I learned that there is a campaign called “Reclaim your lunch break” pioneered by The Stylist itself where “all lunch breaks MUST be taken, with anyone found working in breach of contract”. This campaign can be seen as an exaggeration in the opposite sense, but I personally agree 100% with it. I believe that taking your lunch break is a right, and a healthy habit for both the body and mind, plus working non-stop for so many hours is stressful and tiring, and it may also impact on productivity.
Going for a walk, breathing fresh air and taking care of personal projects can be refreshing not only for who works for a company, but also for the employer because it makes people feel better, and productivity will benefit as a consequence.

There is no amount of work that should be so unmanageable for you to have to work through your lunch break, or stay at your desk impossible hours. If that happens, it means that your company is understaffed, and you are, in fact, working several hours a week… for free.
By skipping your lunch break you are helping to create an unhealthy work life balance for yourself and you colleagues, which is not good for anyone.

The issue with healthy eating is not only about food

Has it ever happened that you don’t recall actually eating your lunch?
Taking your lunch break at your desk when you are thinking about work – or even still working – and stressing about it, leads to mindless eating. And more likely to eating more that you normally would.

The issue is that the quicker you engulf your food, the less you will taste it, the less you will enjoy it, and the less satisfied you will be. Sweets and “treats” become almost inevitable after lunch as a quick fix for all the stress.
A lot of experts are now talking about the importance of eating mindfully, which is the key to stay lean. In essence, it means eating slowly, shutting down distractions like mobile phones and other concentrating on chewing and savouring the food. This practice will help us sense our body signals of being full.

Not having enough time to switch off by taking a proper lunch break will prove eating mindfully even more challenging. So, it is very important that you reclaim your lunch break at work to stay healthy and keep your energies up. Taking time to eat properly will improve your mood, your health and the quality of your work. So what are you waiting for? Reclaim your lunch break.

How do you feel abut reclaiming your lunch break?
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