For a lot of people, stressis a built-in part of the workday. And lunchtime offers a valuable break and time to relax and unwind. But if you're forcing yourself to socialize at lunch, you may be robbing yourself of the downtime you need.
When it comes to reducing stressand fatigue at work, research has shown that it's important to feel you're in control of how you spend your lunchtime and who you spend it with.
So, if you're sharing a pizza with co-workers because that's what you want to do, you'll be giving yourself a much-needed break. But if you feel pressured into eating with co-workers or your boss, your lunch break may feel more like work.
In fact, it can be less stressful to eat in your own space, if that's what you want to do. Researchers have found that people who spend their lunchtime doing something relaxing that they've chosen to do have the least fatigue at the end of the day.
But even working through lunch can reduce stress and fatigue if people feel they've made the choice to do so.
In addition choosing to spend your lunch break doing what you’ll most enjoy, here are a few other easy ways to making the most of your lunch:
Make healthy food choices that will help give you an energy boost and leave you feeling fresh.
Try squeezing in a few minutes of exercise, whether that’s going for a walk or doing some stretching.
Create a gratitude list or try journalingas a way to reflect and focus on the positives in your life.
Enjoy listening to music that you like as a way to relax and tune out other distractions.
The bottom line?
There’s no doubt that stress is a major part of daily life, but there are easy ways to enjoy your day despite it. In addition to practicing these simple steps to having a stress-relieving lunch break, there are other healthy ways to minimize stress.
For instance, simple things like sleeping more than 7 hours, eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise and working with your primary care provider are all great ways to reduce the impact of stress. While it may be impossible to cut stress out entirely, these tips will minimize its effect.