For a lot of people, stress is a built-in part of the workday.
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 stress and 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, it can feel like it’s just more work.
In fact, it can be less stressful to eat in your cubicle, 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. One tip: Making healthy food choices at lunchtime will give you a physical boost, too.
The bottom line? Whenever possible, spend lunchtime doing what you want.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has food safety tips for eating at the office.