Lunch Breaks: Be kind to yourself and take them!

You’re far too busy to leave the office so you’ll just have your lunch at your desk, right? Click through to find out why skipping your lunch break can mess up your workday, your health and even your career.

Offices are busy places, and that’s true whether we’re talking about a one-person home office or rows and rows of cubicles in an office building. Everyone has deadlines to meet and projects to finish. The easiest way to make sure these things happen is to skip your lunch hour or eat your lunch at your desk. Thousands — maybe millions — of U.S. workers are making this choice, and it could be one of the most detrimental habits we have a hard time breaking. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t be skipping your lunch hour:

  • Skipping a meal is bad for your health. Sometimes we think we’re too busy to eat or maybe we simply forget. Other times we might think we are helping our weight-loss goals by reducing calories, but there are better methods. Skipping your lunch causes your blood sugar to plummet, which is why you start to feel sluggish around 3 p.m.
  • You’re less productive for the rest of the day. To that purpose, you’re not actually gaining productive time. You’re more likely to hit a slump in the afternoon, which affects your ability to think and perform your job. We sometimes take this productivity dip for granted and assume it just comes with the territory, but it can be avoided.
  • It makes your brain work slower. Your brain needs fuel to keep performing at optimum levels. When you don’t feed it regularly you start to lose cognitive function, memory and concentration. You may lose the entire afternoon of work and find yourself needing to do critical pieces over again when you return to work in the morning refreshed.
  • You’re setting a bad precedent. Of course, your weight and brain health aren’t the only things that you damage by skipping lunch. You also set a precedent that this is something you always do, which will cause your managers to expect it. You will find that it will become impossible to take lunch hours in the future because you never have in the past.

Do you need to get out of the office for your lunch break?