Avoid the afternoon slump — Don't skip your lunch break

Posted by John Murphy, M.D.
January 26, 2016

Afternoon Slump_Medium

Americans are working harder than ever. Some workers toil nine to 10 hours each day, sometimes without any breaks. Does this sound like you? Breaks, especially lunch breaks, are vital to being successful on the job. You may be thinking that you just don’t have time for a lunch break in your busy day. In actuality, breaks help workers forge ahead with a higher rate of productivity. Taking a lunch break ensures that you will be able to face an afternoon full of work with renewed energy and confidence.

Throughout a morning of hard work, your body accumulates many needs and hungers that must be addressed by lunchtime in order to continue work in the afternoon. The obvious need is a physical one that can only be fulfilled by food. Light and low-fat meals that include whole grains, fruits and vegetables are recommended to fuel your body and keep you from craving an afternoon nap. Drinking water also leaves you refreshed and helps fight that drowsy feeling.

In addition to meeting physical needs, your lunch break is time to rejuvenate your mind and spirit. It is important to take time away from your blurred computer screen and stiff desk chair in order to concentrate on and complete your afternoon tasks.

Here are a few examples of how to get the most out of your next lunch break:

  • Take a brisk walk.
  • Read an entertaining book or magazine.
  • Go shopping.
  • Call a friend.
  • Meditate.
  • Listen to your favorite music.

Your body is working hard on the job, so take care of it. Give your body the break it deserves. Even if you can only spare 20 or 30 minutes, use your lunch break as a time to re-energize for your afternoon of work.

John Murphy, M.D., is a family physician at Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare in Sparta.

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