I am notorious for skipping my lunch breaks when I’m in the office. I just can’t help it! I get in my groove and before I’m even aware of the time passing it’s 2 hours until I’m supposed to leave and it would be just silly to take a lunch at that point!
Or I would just be too busy. I had so much work to do that I absolutely couldn’t justify walking away from my desk to take 45 minutes or an hour to myself.
So, I would work through my lunch. And let me tell ya, those days would D.R.A.G. It was awful. I would leave the office feeling muted, my brain would hurt, I was in a terrible mood, and I just felt all around drained. Obviously some days were better than others, but for the most part my days just felt endless.
Also, if I did take a lunch I would usually just stay at my desk. I’d eat, browse on Pinterest, do whatever I could to make the time pass.
Recently I decided that one of my goals for 2017 would be to focus on my wellbeing, both physical and mental.
So, I decided to try a little test. I took a lunch break every day for 2 weeks. And, not just take a break, I would actually have to leave my desk and get away from it entirely during this time. It didn’t matter how busy we were, what time it was when I finally looked at the clock, none of it mattered. I would completely leave my desk and go do something for lunch.
Whether it was going down to our cafeteria, walk around the arena, go to one of the parks right down the road, find a secluded area and pop open a book …I did something to get away from my desk every single day for a minimum of 45 minutes. This is what I found:
I came back feeling fresh, invigorated, and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
45 minutes to 1 hour doesn’t seem like much. But, when it’s all said and done it really does matter. I usually knew within the first 30 minutes of my day if I was going to work through my lunch or not (the answer was almost always yes). And knowing that I didn’t have anything to really look forward to until I left for the day would sometimes wear me down more than the actual work. It was just an endless drone of research, processing, and meetings. Everything would begin to run together, making the day seem monotonous and infinite. Taking that break in the middle of the day and making sure I had a little bit of time set aside to collect myself helped abolish a lot of that. It was insane how much of a change I noticed in my perception of the work and of the day once I knew for a fact that I’d have time to reset. Because the truth is the work didn’t change at all. If anything we were busier than we had been in a long damn time. But, that little nugget of time in the middle of my day that allowed me to just press the off button and re-group made a huge difference in how I was looking at the day.
I was more productive and my work was more accurate.
One thing I noticed within the first week of doing this is that the extra time of work didn’t make as much as a difference as I had previously thought. If nothing, it actually caused me to get less work done because I was so burned out and moving at a sluggish pace. Taking time to walk away from things allowed me to regain my energy and approach everything with new eyes. I currently am in a role that requires some processing and I noticed pretty quickly that my accuracy was doing better whenever I was taking a lunch. The truth is, when you’re so tired you can’t even think that’s typically a good indicator to walk away. But, I wouldn’t. I would just keep on truckin’ which was hindering my ability to perform my work accurately. I was having to triple and quadruple check my work before I would send it off because I was no longer able to trust my tired brain to not catch the mistake the first two times around. Whenever I started making myself take a lunch I noticed that that was not happening as often. My accuracy got better and my brain was fresher and more alert, meaning if I did make a mistake it was easier for me to catch it early.
The day went by faster.
Days without a break tend to move at snail speed, don’t they? When you’re just pluging away at the task at hand and the time that you get to log off is hours and hours away… it’s daunting! When I started to make taking time to myself a priority I noticed that the day as a whole didn’t seem as long. And not just after my lunch break either! I noticed that the time leading up to my lunch seemed to go by a lot quicker overall when I had a lunch break to look forward to. Knowing that I had some “me” time to break up the monotonous dredge of work really helped both the morning and the afternoon go by a lot quicker.
If we’re being entirely honest here, I really didn’t think I’d notice that big of a difference between taking a lunch and not when I first started this. I was surprised when I found out just how much of a difference it made! It was a good surprise (obvs) because it’s something that’s so easy to fix to help put a positive spin on my day.
I’m glad I took some time to try this out and this is something that I’m definitely going to continue doing. And, it puts me on the right track for some of my goals this year on focusing on myself and my well being.
Until next time my lovelies, stay true, stay positive.