Leerdammer LightI’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment, which means that things like cheese don’t often feature in my meals. However, I’m a huge fan of Leerdammer Light, which has 50% less fat than cheddar and when they asked me to share some new research, I was happy to oblige.

“New research from Leerdammer Light reveals that the traditional lunch break is on the decline, with Brits working an extra 19 days a year as a result of not taking their full breaks.

The research, conducted by Leerdammer Light, has discovered a further 7% of Brits claim they don’t take lunch breaks at all! The lack of the lunch hour is taking its toll on the nation’s productivity and wellbeing at work, with 22 percent of people surveyed admitting they are less efficient when not taking a lunch break. Other key findings include:

  • 49 percent of workers now eat lunch at their desk
  • 40 percent take less than 20 minutes for lunch
  • Over a quarter of workers are drawn to unhealthy options at lunch
  • 11 percent work through their lunch breaks to impress their boss
  • Those who spend money buying lunch fork out an average of £1,383.48

They’ve put together some tips to help you to make the most of your lunch hour:

Socialise – Once a week, speak to or have lunch with someone you have seen
around the office but not spoken to before. The quality of relationships in the workplace
is the single most important factor in workplace wellbeing

Find your Zen

Find a quiet spot, take a few deep breaths and be still for 15
minutes every day. As thoughts come to your mind just acknowledge them and let them
float on by, this will help rejuvenate the brain, balance emotions and spark creativity

Relax

Eating your lunch at your desk is unhealthy on many levels – our bodies
are not programmed to digest food well under stress, so it’s important to have lunch
when relaxed. Take a few deep breaths before you start eating; eat slowly and chew
your food well

Walk the walk

Taking a 15 minute walk at lunchtime is great way to avoid the need
for the gym workout later and it gets your brain buzzing. Get the most out of your lunchtime
walk by asking yourself a ‘How can I …’ question before you set out; for example ‘How can
I put this proposal across in the best way?’ Asking questions of yourself and then doing
some exercise encourages your mind to think creatively and come up with new answers

Refresh your finances

Particularly helpful in January, use your lunch break to
review your finances. Money is one of the top causes of stress and worry and people who
review their finances regularly tend to feel more in control and positive about their finances
than those who spend their lunch breaks internet shopping (you know who you are!)

Attend a yoga or pilates class

Yoga and Pilates are mostly non-sweaty – so no bad hair or smells in the afternoon! Even a short half an hour class can bring balance to your mind and help keep you fit at the same time

Start a lunchtime walking club

This links the relationship building benefits of your lunch break, with fresh air and exercise. Post up a meeting point and time, and whoever turns up goes on the walk, keep at it even if there aren’t many takers at first – it will soon catch on!

Learn a language 

Improve your skills (and your employability) during your lunch break. Think of how much you could learn in 5 hours a week! Using language CD’s, apps and much more, you can easily do it in the kitchen or even outside. Better still get a small group of colleagues together and do it as a group.

Tidy desk, tidy mind

Use some of your break time to get organised. Having a clear out has a big impact on how clear we feel in our minds – there’s less clutter in our peripheral vision, we are more focused and energised and less mentally distracted by all the visual ‘noise’

Timing

Leading a busy lifestyle, it’s not always practical to take a full hour for lunch. However, you can still make sure you get yourself refreshed for the afternoon. The key is to have at least 10 minutes after you’ve eaten to put your mind onto something else and let your food digest – this can make all the difference to your energy levels and focus