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Take back the lunch break

Main image 27 June, 2019

June 21st was officially ‘Take Back the Lunch Break Day’ when people from all lines of work are encouraged to down tools, leave their desk and make the most of their hard-earned midday break.

Here in the UK, every worker has the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day. This break provides a valuable opportunity to switch off, unwind, and fuel up on the right foods, enabling you return to work feeling refreshed and re-energised.

Sadly, with the rise of today’s 24/7 work culture, many people find themselves stuck in a cycle of eating in front of their computer, or skipping lunch altogether. However, doing this on a repeated basis is bound to have an effect, not just on your productivity and job satisfaction, but on your overall health and well-being.

And that’s exactly why ‘Take Back the Lunch Break Day’ was introduced – to remind us all of the importance of taking time out. Of course, here at YourGP, our expert Occupational Health team believe it’s important that workers from all sectors take time out, not just for one day of the year, but every single working day. So to help, we’ve compiled our top five ways to make the most of your lunch break.

  • Take the full time you are entitled to: If your contract says you are entitled to an hour-long lunch break, don’t feel guilty about taking the full hour! Of course, with the rise of presenteeism, there will always be colleagues who want to appear to be putting in the extra hours, but countless studies have shown that not taking an adequate break can have a detrimental effect on work performance.

  • Step away from your desk: The best way to switch off from ‘work’ mode is to have a change of scene, so step away from your desk, and if you can, step away from your phone too.

  • Even better, head outside: A good dose of sunshine and fresh air can work wonders for revitalising the mind and body. The daily lunch break is also the ideal time to add a little exercise into your daily routine. Even just a brisk 10 minute walk each day could make all the difference to how you feel.
  • Take time to enjoy your food: Ever noticed that things taste better when you really focus on savouring every mouthful? Take a little time to prepare a healthy lunch, as opposed to grabbing a pre-packed sandwich, crisps and fizzy drink meal deal, and you’ll fuel your body with the right nutrients to see you through a busy afternoon.

  • Socialise: Use this time to connect with others – this is especially important if you work alone. Arrange a lunch date with a friend, or chat with colleagues, and ideally keep the topics of conversation non-work related!

If you’d like to speak to an Occupational Health specialist about enabling your team to get the most out of their working day, call YourGP on 0131 225 5656 or email occhealth@your.gp and we’ll be happy to help.

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