I remember as a kid when my parents bought a new cereal, I would fall asleep in giddy excitement. The anticipation over the next morning’s Cocoa Puffs was palpable. The mood-altering power of food has only strengthened over time for me and it’s one of the reasons I believe so strongly in taking a lunch break.

Here are a few more reasons to take back the break:

It’s Yours to Take (or Give Away)

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Countless times I’ve said and heard said, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” We become stuck in the same routines that leave us feeling depleted and lacking time for ourselves, but we turn around and give free time away! Think of your lunch break as a daily, guaranteed gift – not to be squandered.

Changing Your Scenery is Invigorating

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As someone who stares into a monitor for the majority of the day, I can confirm that over time it feels as though the screen is literally pulling my energy through my eyeballs. I’ve found a solid lunch break, spent out of range of my desk, is the best antidote to the dull, computer-induced haze.

If a 15 – 20 minute break is proven to help sustain concentration and energy levels, think what an entire lunch break could do.

It’s an Opportunity to Connect with Colleagues

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The math has been done before but to reiterate, the average American works 40 hours a week from ages 20 – 65. That means we spend 10.3 years of our life at work.

Rather than causing our eyes to start twitching, this statistic can encourage us to make the most of the time we spend with colleagues. Treat your lunch break as an opportunity to learn more about the people you’re surrounded by for the majority of your day. Not only will you learn something interesting, but fostering these relationships can strengthen morale and form more supportive systems outside of the lunch hour.  

You Can Practice a Bit of Mindfulness

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I heard writer and artist, Austin Kleon, say in an interview that while he believes we’re capable of multitasking, we’re not as capable of multifocusing. He used a great example of washing your dishes while on the phone. Washing dishes is a rather mindless task, one you could do while catching up with your brother on the phone. But if all of a sudden he tells you he’s joined the a band of travelling magicians and leaving on tour – undoubtedly, you’ll stop washing to the dishes to ask “Whaaaaaat?!” Your focus can only really be in one area at a time.

So if we’re being gifted this time everyday to simply sit and enjoy a meal, why not use the opportunity to quiet the mind and give it all of your focus? Even if this is only something you do once a week, to sit and appreciate a meal can bring peace to your otherwise busy day.

I hope you’ve found a reason or two you can relate with and have been inspired to reassess your relationship with your lunch break.