Here’s a startling statistics: only 1 in 5 five people step away from their desk for lunch. This week’s guest is on a mission to change that.
Laura Archer is the author of Gone for Lunch: 52 Things to do on Your Lunch Break, a book she wrote on her journey to reclaim her midday break and to find more time for herself, her interests and her self-care.
Through her book, blog and workshops, Laura aims to help individuals and companies to appreciate the unbelievable benefits of taking a lunch break – even if it’s only for 20 minutes once or twice a week.
What’s so great about Laura’s story is that it started with her own simple curiosity and her own yearning to feel more connected to herself and the world around her. So what are the benefits of taking a break? What’s stopping us from simply pausing from our work and having a rest? We dive into these questions and so much more.
1) If you think you don’t have time for a break or that stepping away will make you less productive, think again. Giving the brain a rest gives us access to more creativity and more energy, which allows us to do and produce more in the short and long run.
2) Most of us are only doing about three hours of focused work a day anyway. So, ask yourself… what are you really doing with your eight-hour workday? Perhaps that 30 or 60 minute break is much more realistic when we start to take a true inventory of how we spend our time at work.
3) Stress related absence costs the US economy billions of dollars each year. Taking a break elevates mood and increases our job satisfaction. It makes us healthier and better at our work.
4) Rethink the eight-hour work day. It was created for factories. In many cases, it’s no longer necessary or practical for us to be chained to a desk all day. Look for ways to find more time flexibility with your work so that you can fit in time for yourself throughout the day rather than only with the hours you have left over in the evening.
5) You can literally feel your brain sigh with relief when you take a break. Go test it out. Experience what it feels like to let your brain relax.
6) We need to create a culture of pausing. Even if you’re not the CEO, you can become a lunch break champion and start to shift the vibe of your workplace to be more supportive of midday breaks.
7) If you’re a salaried worker, you’re paid to take a lunch break. If you’re working through your lunch, you’re basically giving your company six extra weeks of your time… for free! You deserve this time. It’s yours. Take it.
8) We don’t need to take an entire hour for this to count. Even just 20 minutes would make a difference.
9) We can use our lunch breaks to accomplish things that are important to us, which could include being more centered, taking time for goals you want to achieve or new skills you want to learn, books you want to finish, or people you want to connect with. Laura offers 52 great ideas for ways to spend your lunch break and I’m sure we could all find dozens more.
10) Go outside. Besides the benefits of vitamin D, being outside literally rewires the brain. Feel the breeze and the sun. Listen to the world. Stop and smell the roses.
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I think, for me, the biggest takeaway is that I feel so much better when I take a break. I feel more ease, less frantic, life slows down, I become more present. Such good stuff right? And all I have to do is take a break for 20 minutes. So, who’s with me??
I’m so grateful for this conversation. A big, huge thanks to Laura Archer for being my guest today. You can connect with her at http://goneforlunch.com./.
Until next time,