Especially when starting a brand new job, it can be tempting to work through your lunch break to try and show the office that you’re dedicated and determined.
And while it may potentially have this effect in the office, there are far more negative consequences that arise when you decide not to take a break at work.
After all, there’s a very good reason that breaks are a legal requirement in every workplace. This halt in the middle of a stressful workday can have a number of benefits both for you and your company.
Breaks are also a great opportunity to think of ways to improve your work situation.
Below, we will explore some of the many benefits of taking a break at work, and why you shouldn’t skip your break unless absolutely necessary.
A Chance to Leave the Workplace
Breaks are the perfect chance to leave the workplace for a brief time.
At first, this may not seem like a serious benefit, but stepping away from your workspace can give you a chance to relax your thoughts and concentrate on something other than work.
Use your break as an opportunity to do some brief breathing exercises that will help you stay calm and deal with the many stresses of the workplace much better.
Take a short walk around the neighborhood where your office is located. Take in the scenery or even explore some nearby restaurants or coffee shops.
If you haven’t been getting enough sleep lately, you could even try to take a short nap in your car. Just make sure to set an alarm so that you’re not late coming back from your break.
A Chance to Speak with the Outside World
Many workplaces discourage phone use while employees are on the clock, and for good reason. Our phones can offer nearly endless distractions from our work.
But while you’re on a break, you can check your phone as much as you want, getting caught up on social media feeds and the latest news.
You could even use your break as a chance to make a phone call to a friend or family member and chat casually with them until you need to head back into the office.
If you enjoy posting to social media yourself, your work break is the perfect time to do so.
Or maybe you have friends who happen to work in the same company or within the same office building.
If you want, you can coordinate your break with theirs so that you can spend time together, talking or sharing lunch together.
A Chance to Enjoy a Meal
The longest break of any given workday is typically referred to as a lunch break, even if you work an abnormal shift and the break actually takes place at, for example, 4 PM in the afternoon.
It’s definitely a good idea to enjoy a meal during your work shift. It can give you the energy you need to make it through the rest of your day with gusto.
If you’re looking to avoid feelings of sluggishness after eating, try to bring only light, healthy foods into work for your meal break.
Salads and cold pasta can be excellent work meal options.
You may also have access to a number of cafes or restaurants near your place of work. During your first week or so at a new job, you can make an effort to explore each of them in order to find your favorite.
Once you have a favorite spot, you can head to that location for your lunch breaks, on a regular basis.
You may even want to bring a book with you that you can enjoy while on break.
A Chance to Recharge
Work can be incredibly stressful at times, and depending on your specific role within your company, you may be constantly swamped with to-do lists and plenty of side tasks that you’ll need to finish in the near future.
A work break is the perfect opportunity to make sure that you have all of your work responsibilities sorted out.
Try to keep all of your tasks listed out in the same place, preferably on a digital platform that allows you to update items and check on your lists any time you like, from a computer or a phone.
A break is also your chance to make a conscious effort to relax. As we mentioned above, breathing exercises can be incredibly helpful for this purpose.
Or maybe there’s a game on your phone that you enjoy playing in your downtime. See how far you can progress through the course of a single work break. The following day, try to beat your record.
A Chance to Gain Perspective
When you spend a lot of time in the office, work-related problems can start to loom much larger than you may have expected.
They may even start to feel like the most important aspects of your life. And while your career is indeed very important to your financial wellbeing and your overall sense of happiness, it’s not the most important factor.
The importance of your job will only compound if you purposefully work through breaks on a consistent basis.
Soon enough, you’ll start thinking of work long after you’ve left the office, even at home, where there are plenty of other distractions.
Instead, you should always do your best to take your work break. Just stepping away from your desk can help your brain to take many kinds of stimuli that have nothing to do with your job.
This can help you keep a broader perspective of your life as a whole and serve as a remember that you’re much more than your job.
A Note on Workplaces that Discourage Breaks
We’d like to close with a brief note on workplaces that discourage their employees from taking breaks in subtle ways.
Some offices don’t even tell their employees that they are allowed a certain number of breaks each day, or don’t encourage employees to take their breaks on a regular basis.
If you find yourself in this situation, you should contact your human resources rep immediately to try and resolve the issue. Every employee should be afforded at least one break each day.