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Why You Really Need to Take a Lunch Break

Topics: Career Advice

Think that you can’t get out of your work slump because you don’t have enough time? Maybe you’re not tapping into the mid-day break we all have (but many of us neglect): lunchtime. There’s a half hour to an hour every day that everybody gets, but you might not be utilizing to its fullest, at least when it comes to your career. Here’s how lunchtime is the new power hour.

lunch break
Image Credit: roberthuffstutter/Flickr

You need (and deserve) a break!

Seriously, if you’re not taking a break to at least shove some food in your mouth, you’re doing your body and mind a disservice. Even just taking a break and walking around outside of the office can benefit your brain. A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that a little break, mixed with some movement (read: exercise) can boost creativity. Since only 1 in 5 of us take a lunch break, currently, according to another study, think of how much more creative we can be in the afternoon if we only took a walk around the block midday?

You can increase your network, one lunch at a time

Use your lunch hour to talk to a colleague, add a new connection to your LinkedIn, or even just reach out to some friends and talk about how their day is going at work. Everyone loves talking about their day, so why not get some insights into how another person’s job is going? It might just help shed light on your own. Plus, if you add to your network by just one person each day, think of how many new connections you’d have in just a month!

You can study up on your industry with a good book, magazine, or blog

Books: they’re not just for reading on vacation! Why not pack an industry or career-related tome in your lunch bag and read it midday? Or if you want to keep things light, check out an industry magazine or blog at lunch. You might gain useful insights that can help propel your career, or give you a boost. Or maybe you’ll glean something interesting to talk about at the water cooler or when you happen to be stuck in the elevator with the big boss.

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You can get organized

Think you don’t have an idea of where to start with getting your life in order? Lunchtime doesn’t have to be a wasted hour – it can be one where you tap into your inner list-maker. Need to eat better? Use lunch to make a meal plan for the week along with a grocery list. Need to cross off some personal tasks, but you always flake them once you get home (guilty as charged, here)? Make a to-do list at lunch and make sure you keep track of that piece of paper come 5 p.m.

You can get fed

Yep, it’s still a good idea to eat something during a break at work. Eating mindfully and nutritiously doesn’t have to be all about salads. Make some easy snacks you can enjoy either away from your desk (and that work email ping) at a lunchroom table or while taking a leisurely stroll, and your body and brain will thank you. And maybe your lunch break isn’t right at the stroke of noon, it’s a few 20- to 30-minute breaks spread out throughout the day. Be an innovator in a few small things at first and a career boost will follow!

Tell Us What You Think

How do you use your lunch break? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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