Lunchtime in America often means a quick bite at your desk, seen more as a task. According to a Tork survey, 39% of people working from home say they “occasionally, rarely, or never” take breaks during work. A staggering two in three millennials admit they often skip lunch to get ahead in their careers.
Compare that to France, where labor laws forbid eating at your desk. People are happier when they pause their work for meals. Wellbeing, after all, is not just about our physical health; it’s about our mental state, too.
For some Europeans adopting American eating habit, resulted in disrupted sleep, lower concentration, and mood swings. They regain energy by returning to their original eating habits, prioritizing a nutritious lunchtime break that fuels the body and soul.
Eating lunch provides essential nutrients and sustains us. Skipping lunch messes with our blood sugar, affects our mood, and hinders cognitive function. Beyond the food, taking a break rejuvenates our mind, improves opportunity-creation, and boosts cognitive flexibility.
In today’s fast-paced world, the convenience of technology often replaces face-to-face interactions. We text instead of talk, and we email instead of connecting. This chips away at sitting down for a tea or a lunch. More than just a time for food and drink, these occasions are valuable spaces for dialogue and deep connection. When we overlook them, we lose an essential part of relationship-building.
Engaging in dialogue over a meal or a cup of tea lets us drop our masks. We open up, discuss different topics, and share a laugh. In that moment, we’re not just co-workers, neighbors, or family members; we become fellow human beings, sharing life’s highs and lows.
The cost of living has made lunchtime seem like a luxury. A Clever Real Estate survey found that 40% of people skip meals to afford housing. Yet, even if lunch seems unaffordable, stepping away from our desk offers benefits. It’s not just about the food, it’s an opportunity to step outside, take a walk, maybe sit in a park, or share a conversation with another person.
Ignoring our natural need for breaks contributes to a growing burnout epidemic. A Future Forum poll found 41% of desk job workers feeling burned out. In a similar 2022 Aflac survey, 59% reported moderate levels of burnout.
Taking a break, sharing a meal, or simply stepping outside nurtures our health, both mental and physical. So can we move beyond viewing meals as utilitarian and breaks as a waste of time? Perhaps breaks are opportunities to connect, relax, and refuel also with ourselves.
Lunchtime can be a playground for the mind and soul, a place to nourish our whole selves. Can we let go of guilt and judgments and embrace this time as essential for our wellbeing? After all, taking care of ourselves is not just about productivity; it’s about living a life that’s balanced and healthy for us.
Healthy relationships are key for mental health. Eating together serves as a small yet meaningful ritual that strengthens bonds. Friends who dine together share more than a meal; they share stories, dreams, and feelings. Families who make it a point to eat meals together report higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress.
Conversations don’t just end when the meal does. They make us think, reflect, and connect on deeper levels. The empathy and understanding fostered during these interactions can lead to stronger, more supportive communities. This creates a more nurturing environment that can positively impact everyone’s wellbeing as well as the quality of our work.