Wanna do lunch?

Nova Scotia is trying to get its public servant to take a full hour lunch. The NS government is commanding its 10,000 employees to leave their desk for a full 1 hour lunch in the hope that it will make them more productive overall.

From a Globe and Mail article (will only be available for a day or two) on this:
Only the relaxation part of such a lunch-hour activity was what Myra Lefkowitz had in mind several years ago when she thought to reclaim the lunch break at the University of Toronto.

“Even though the Employment Standards Act provides everyone with the right to take lunch nobody really does it,” said the university's manager of health and well-being services.

“We wanted [the campaign] to speak to the institution, management and employees. It wasn't something over which individuals would have to fight or feel guilty or deal with the critical gaze of their colleagues as they went and did something we used to all do.

“We know that in the long run, if people don't pace themselves they run into things like burnout and stress leave — the results of people not paying attention to themselves and their needs during the day.”

Also from the same article:
Michelle Lucas has worked in communications for the N.S. government since 2001, currently for the Department of Human Resources. Like many of her colleagues, she habitually worked through lunch, grabbing something at her desk, hoping for a tasty sandwich tray at meetings or forgetting to eat at all.

“I rarely took a lunch break,” she said. “I can think of days where I was driving home and I realized I hadn't eaten and I was just famished.

“So many people go steady through the day and don't take breaks for themselves. We see it all the time. It's just what you do. But it's not good. A nutrition or activity break or even running errands makes you feel less stressed in the afternoon.”

Several studies have suggested that a simple 10-minute walk at lunch can provide a two-hour burst of energy through the afternoon.And

Leslie Beck, Globe columnist and nutritionist, said lunch is as important to health as breakfast. She lamented a corporate culture that has ruined workers' sense of entitlement to a midday respite.

“People feel guilty for taking lunch,” she said. “I talk to so many people for whom it's not part of their office culture. If their boss doesn't do it, they won't either. There's a real guilt thing going on.

“But it's been four hours or maybe five since breakfast. Your blood sugar is low. People who don't eat lunch get far too hungry and eat more later.”

Nova Scotia isn't measuring the results of the program. There is no lunch-break attendance taken, though Ms. Lucas chuckled that at the beginning, some employees e-mailed Human Resources to inform they had indeed gone for lunch.

“We're not being prescriptive,” she said. “No one is telling anyone else what to do. It's an awareness campaign. But it brings something out in the open that we all used to do and have gotten away from. Hopefully it will go a long way to bringing back healthy habits.”

I will confess...I am bad at taking my lunch. I will often grab something and eat it at my desk while I work. I honestly can't remember the last time I took an hour for lunch that didn't involve some sort of doctor's appointment. I will occasionally take a longer break during the day in order to run to the grocery store but generally only on days when it is supposed to pour in the evenings (when you go to the grocery store on foot and it's at least a 10 minute walk in each direction rain is not your friend).

I'm also kinda bad at taking breaks during the day. Sometimes I'll take the equivalent of a midmorning 10 minute break and do my dishes. Or put a load of laundry in the washer (working and doing housework - I like that kind of multitasking). I generally try to do these things while my computer is processing things, like generating a PDF, etc. My computer is still "working".

This is something I need to work on, even if it's taking 30 minutes for lunch, I need to step away from the computer. I think it's hard because since my apartment is so small so office, kitchen and living room are one room. One rather small room and I can see the computer from pretty much where ever I am in it. But I'm going to work on it.

Do you take your lunch?