Eating lunch while working at your desk may make you look like a pro multitasker, but it is not cool. If you spend a lot of time at your desk so much that you even eat your lunch while still staring at a computer screen, you are doing something bad to your health. But, you are not alone, more than 60 percent of working people eat their lunch at their desks. It has been scientifically proven, we all know that eating a balanced and nutritious diet helps in maintaining concentration and health throughout the week. But, does it matter where we eat? According to a recent German study, your lunch habits including where you eat your lunch and with whom you eat can affect your work-life, as well as your health. Here is why you should stop eating lunch at your desk.
1. Leads to weight gain
Eating whilst continuing to check emails, etc., can lead to 'mindless eating,' which can cause people to overeat and/or eat the wrong foods, therefore, gaining weight. Avoid buying your lunch every day. The food we make at home is always going to be healthier than the meals available from the corner shop. It only takes a couple of minutes to prepare a healthy lunch at home.
2. Reduced productivity
If multitasking is your game, think again. No matter how good you think you are at the artful dance of sipping a coffee, eating a salad, and continuing to read and type, multitasking still isn't as effective as focusing on one thing at a time.
3. Poor food choices
It's very easy to get stuck in a routine of running to the same restaurant that's the closest option to your work. But without giving yourself time to properly consider your options, or indeed prepare lunch the day before, you'll inevitably stress about what to get. The safe decision will be to opt for the same sandwich as yesterday, which can become boring and also limit variety in your diet.
You can try preparing lunch in advance – take in leftovers from yesterday's dinner which will save you time and money. Or, if you're pushed for time and the restaurant is the only option, opt for simple changes.
4. You miss out on socializing
Spending lunchtime cooped up in the office can limit the time you have for socializing. This can have a knock-on impact on your happiness and productivity. Regular lunch dates with friends are a great way to break up the day, recharge, and reduce stress. Taking time away from work at lunch will allow you to come back feeling happier and more focused to start the afternoon.
Get organized and arrange to meet friends who work nearby during your lunch break. You'll be less likely to work through lunch if you are meeting someone.
5. You need sunshine
Researchers revealed that 67 percent of us work the same hours each day. With many people working early mornings and late nights, most office workers inevitably spend their time traveling to and from the office when there is limited sunlight. A lack of sunlight can lead to low levels of vitamin D.
Lunchtime can be one of the few opportunities we have to get a dose of sunlight. Make sure you get outdoors and recharge your levels of vitamin D. Sunshine is also an incredible mood booster. It triggers the release of our feel-good brain chemical serotonin, leaving us feeling happier and more positive.
6. Your mental and physical health suffers
Staying cooped in your office all day under fluorescent lighting and breathing circulated air is proven to be bad for your mental health. Getting outside just once per day to breathe fresh air and catch a few rays of sunlight has a radical impact on your demeanor and mental health.
Getting up from your desk during the day is also important to break sedentary patterns that contribute to health risks such as heart conditions, strokes, insomnia, obesity, diabetes, and countless other issues. It's recommended that you get up every 60 to 90 minutes to take a quick walk and stretch your legs. Since most workers don't do that, it's especially important to use your lunch hour to get a little non-seated physical activity.
7. You are bringing down office morale
When one employee starts eating lunch at their desk – especially if they're in a leadership position – it can put pressure on other employees to do the same to 'prove' that they're as hardworking as their coworkers. A culture built on overwork tends to creep from one employee to the next. Overwork and unrealistic expectations on employees kill morale and hurt your corporate culture. If everyone eats lunch at their desk, the employees who choose not to can be looked down upon as less dedicated. It should be the opposite – people who have the urge to eat at their desks should be encouraged to join their coworkers in the break room or get out of the office.
8. Germs on your desk
You may look at your desk and think it's pretty clean. But, it's not as more than 10 million bacteria are lurking on the mouse and keyboard that you use every day. When you eat at your desk, you are exposing your food to a germ-ridden environment. Thus, eating in a different place is a healthier choice.
Eating at your desk while working makes you concentrate more on your work than your food which causes diversion of blood supply from the digestive system to the brain and heart. If your body is not relaxed when you are eating food, it may put stress on the body's functioning, especially digestion.
If you spend your day at your desk, you will feel drained and irritated by the end of the day. Energy is required not only to manage office tasks but also to keep one's conduct. Taking lunch breaks may help you recharge your mind.
11. Weak legs and glutes
If you don't use them, you lose them! By sitting all day, you're not depending on your powerful lower body muscles to hold you up. This leads to muscle atrophy, which is the weakening of this muscle. Without strong leg and glute muscles to stabilize you, your body is at risk of injury.
12. Anxiety and depression
Lesser understood than some of the physical effects of sitting, are the mental effects. But the risk of both depression and anxiety is higher in people who sit the most. This could be because the mental health benefits are lacking when one spends their days sitting down rather than moving. If so, these risks could be mitigated with regular exercise.
13. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis is a type of blood clot that's most common in the legs. When part of this clot breaks off, it can cut off the blood to other parts of the body such as your lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. This is a medical emergency that can lead to major complications or even death. Sitting for too long, even on a long road trip, can cause DVT.
14. Varicose veins
Sitting for long periods can cause blood to pool in the legs. This can lead to varicose veins or spider veins, a smaller version of the former. Though generally not harmful themselves, these swollen and visible veins can be unsightly. In rare cases, they can lead to more serious conditions, like blood clots.
Leaving your desk to eat lunch can help with your mood, state of mind, and productivity. Don't deny yourself the chance to recharge your batteries to full capacity. Give yourself the lunch break you deserve.
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