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Lunch should not be a luxury in your veterinary practice

Posted in 1. Mental health resources @ Nov 23rd 2016 - By Dr Cathy Warburton, Make Headway
Lunch Should Not Be A Luxury In Your Veterinary Practice

Make lunch breaks the norm and take one small step towards a healthier workplace

Why is it that unhelpful habits form so easily? You have a busy week and get behind on your work, so you choose to skip lunch or maybe to eat it whilst you are doing something productive such as writing histories or filing lab reports.

Some days, stopping to eat can seem an inefficient and unnecessary way to use our time. And before you know it, food multi-tasking becomes the norm for you.

You may even not bother with the food part of the equation.

Other people see what you are doing and a workplace culture of not taking a break is born.

Stopping for lunch is NOT a luxury

Whilst stopping for lunch can seem like a luxury in our busy lives and workplaces, it really isn’t. We just aren’t that important or indispensable that we can’t take the time to provide fuel and recovery time for our body and brain.

Taking a lunch-break should be the rule, not the exception to the rule.

Bah humbug I hear you say. I have way too much to do.

We all eat on the run and it doesn’t do us any harm.

Well maybe you do have a lot to do and maybe you don’t take breaks currently and maybe it hasn’t caused any harm yet. So what?

The best thing that you can do at lunch is to stop.

When you do stop for lunch it doesn’t have to be for a long time – ten or fifteen minutes is better than nothing. If your work is physically demanding, take the time to sit as you eat your lunch – you could go outside and watch the world go by, chew quietly with your eyes shut or chat with colleagues (as long as it’s not about work). If your role is more mentally than physically demanding, then going for a short walk could be more beneficial.

Consider these tasty luchtime facts;

Eating a nutritious lunch provides food for the energy-hungry prefrontal cortex (PFC)

The PFC is the part of the brain responsible for thinking, analyzing and decision making. An optimally performing PFC is a bit useful in our jobs don’t you think?

Eating mindfully is good for our digestion, portion control, weight management etc etc

Sustainable high performance requires periods of rest and recovery.

If we are sitting on a computer, thinking about work, or checking our phone for that matter, our brains are still working. Our brains need to have rest periods just as much as our bodies do.

The time we spend taking a break will be made up with increased productivity after a rest.

Counterintuitive but true.

Entrenched cultures can be changed.

You may be part of the eating whilst working culture and you can also be part of the change.


Employer or employee? You can still start the conversation...

Whether you are the employer or an employee, why don’t you start the conversation about lunch breaks? Role model taking a break and positively reinforce those that do.

Take a break and make one small step towards a more positive and healthy culture. 

What's really stopping you from taking a break? Tell us in the Comments section below.

About Cathy

Cathy is a coach and well-being consultant/educator with Make Headway.  Prior to this, she worked as a veterinarian, trainer and manager in private, university and corporate practices for 25 years.  Please visit her site at to make an enquiry about coaching or to find out more.


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