Taking breaks to refresh and refuel

Taking breaks to refresh and refuel

Author: Megan Whelan, BDA Work Ready accredited dietitian

Many people do not take a break away from work during the work day. You’re not alone if you’re grabbing some crisps on the run, or occasionally forgetting to eat at all, but over time it can impact our health and our work performance.

The main reasons for not stopping in the day include feeling stressed over our workload, lack of time or cover, nowhere to go and workplace culture.

Agreed working conditions for healthcare staff do include a reasonable break. All UK workers are entitled to a minimum 20-minute break when working for six hours or more.

However, for some of us, the idea of sitting down for a nutritious meal can seem unachievable, even though it is considered a serious issue for patients.

Delivering work requires a lot of concentration, and there is strong evidence that a break can improve focus so is a good use of time and should be a priority. At lunch, try to choose a variety of foods from the main food groups – the BDA’s fact sheet on healthy packed lunches can help with this.

But there are two aspects of giving yourself time to eat – beneficial nutrients which your body needs to perform at its best, and also giving yourself some time away from your job to reduce fatigue and stress. As well as a chance to refresh and refuel, it could be a time to try some of the tips in the workouts and mindset section too.

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