WAY TO WELLNESS #33
Do you eat your lunch at your desk every day? Do you feel that you can’t spare even 30 minutes, much less an hour, away from your computer? Are you afraid that you might miss an e-mail or not make a deadline because you took your lunch away from your desk? You’d better think twice… Not taking a break may be causing negative impacts on your health & wellness in one or more of the following ways:
1. Increased long-term health risks Eating lunch at your desk means you’ll stay seated longer, and sitting for long periods of time can make you sick in more ways than one. Sitting for hours on end can cause increased risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It can also shift your pancreas into overdrive – causing diabetes and other diseases since sedentary muscles don’t react well to insulin.
2. Sore joints Beyond longer-term health problems, you could be seeing more short-term pain if you decide to eat lunch at your desk. Staying seated longer while staring at your computer screen can lead to tension in your muscles and sore joints. Sitting for long periods of time also weakens your hip and core muscles, which can cause problems elsewhere in your body. If you absolutely must stay at your desk, don’t forget to do a few stretches and exercises to help counteract the effects of sitting all day.
3. Stress It’s no secret that work can be stressful, but eating lunch at your desk can make it even more so. If you don’t take the time to shut off, you never take the time to recover, leading to higher levels of burnout and fatigue. Conversely, taking the time to relax can be a big help in terms of productivity, so pick up your sandwich and head outside for a short break.
4. Brain fog When you’ve got a lot to do, it can certainly seem like a good idea to grab a quick sandwich and eat at your desk. However, that might just be your foggy brain talking – you need to move around in order to pump fresh blood and oxygen up top. Beyond that, there’s only so much you can do in a day, and avoiding break time doesn’t change that fact.
5. Lack of balance Staying in work mode all the time (and not taking breaks) is a sure-fire shortcut to burnout. To avoid burnout, choose milestones at certain points in your day that will allow you to take a break. Once you’ve reached one of your milestones (such as cleaning out your inbox or sending out two offer letters), go outside for a short walk or to grab a coffee. Doing so can help you refresh and refocus when you get back to work.
Here are a few more tips to avoid the dangers of eating lunch at your desk:
• Make plans with friends – Eating lunch at your desk isn’t great, but substituting that for a business lunch isn’t much better. Try to schedule lunches with friends or alone instead so that you can recharge properly and be more productive back at work.
• Stretch! – Even if you do leave the office for lunch, you’ll still be sitting most of the day if you’re at an office job. In addition to leaving your desk and moving around in the middle of the day, remember to do a few stretches and exercises to help prevent injury.
• Get fresh air – One reason to leave your desk at lunchtime is to get outside and get some fresh air. You need to clear your head, and you need fresh air for better health.