Hello everyone! Monday! First day of the working week for a lot of us and a lot to do I’d imagine? But I want you to make sure you do something for me today… and then every day. I want you to take a lunch break. I want you to take at last 20 minutes even if you don’t think you have the time. I want you to go for a walk and eat something.
A study at the University of Bristol showed that exercise can boost mood and motivation by 41%. Now that’s got to help you get through your afternoon work! They also found that exercise improved the ability to deal with stress by 20%. I suspect you need that to help you out. Yet research by BUPA showed that up to two thirds of workers feel they can’t take 20 minutes away from their desk at lunch (Davison 2015)
In 2017 Pulg-Ribera and some fellow researches looked at a ‘sit less, move
more’ programme in the work place and discovered that simply by getting up and moving about people reduced their stress levels. Imagine that! Exercise, even gentle in nature, ‘burns off’ the cortisol and adrenaline produced by our stress response. When you are at your desk and you are feeling overwhelmed your stress response kicks in ….only the problem is it’s designed to prepare us for fight of flight… and when no fight or flight is required we don’t use these chemicals for what they were intended. That gives us the problem of those chemicals hanging around. Some gentle exercise will help mitigate that response.
Afternoon performance is bad enough as it is even if you don’t miss out on your break. Daniel Pink tells us that judges hand down harsher sentences for the same crime on an afternoon, and a study in North Carolina showed that the chances of something going medically wrong in one of their medical centres was four times higher at 4 p.m. than any other time (Pink, 2018, ‘When’)
In his wonderful book ‘The Joy of Work’, Bruce Daisley (creator of the fabulous podcast Eat Sleep Work Repeat) recounts the story of Laura, a manager at the Museum of London who, during a heavy period of work, went without lunch, and reported as a consequence that her mood, energy, diet and attitude to her job all crashed.
It’s such a small thing to do but it’s so important. Take your lunch break and have that brisk walk before having something good to eat. …and by ‘good’ I mean healthy 😉 You will improve your mental performance, clear your head and enhance your performance in the afternoon. You absolutely need some distance from your work half way through the day to energise yourself!
Go on… you know you want to. You’ll thank me for it…. as will your clients and colleagues.