Mar - Apr 2023

Essentials of Work Breaks

By Barb Brathwaite, RN MSN CS


Breaks are good for you. In fact, research shows that break time: to eat, rest and relax, walk, socialize, and to get away from one’s desk, can improve your mental health, create a positive attitude, and increase satisfaction and work productivity.



Research also shows most employees do not feel comfortable leaving their desk to take a break.

Not leaving your desk, and/or eating alone at your desk, can cause feelings of anxiety, loneliness and isolation. If you do not deal with them, these feeling can not only lead to burnout, but also to unhealthy behaviors which can contribute to weight plateaus or weight regain.


So why am I not taking my breaks?

  • Are my bosses telling me that I cannot take a break?
  • Do I feel like I do not have the time to take a break?  Do I need to work on this? 
  • Does my company have a culture that encourages breaks and exercise and health?
  • Do my coworkers take breaks?
  • Do I feel like I need to show my boss that I am a hard worker and dedicated to my job?


What can I do to ensure I take my breaks?

  • Talk to your bosses and assert yourself. Let them know how important it is for you to take your breaks.  Explain that research shows employees work harder, produce more, and their health improves when they regularly get away from their desks. 
  • Organize your time and your workload to allow time for breaks.
  • Invite coworkers to join you for lunch, or a walk. Socialize and network and put your phone away.


Why should I speak up to change the culture?  


Breaks, including lunch breaks, are necessary after weight loss surgery.

  • Making healthy lifestyle choices, like taking breaks, provides the best results for health, weight loss and quality of life. Many people do not take care of their needs which may be one reason why they gain weight.
  • Getting up from one’s desk and walking around, helps prevent sitting for long periods. Physical exercise is very important for long-term weight management.
  • Including a good nutritious diet, adequate protein, and plenty of water, are three of the most important aspects of follow-up care and helps to maximize weight loss. Nurture yourself with a healthy intake.
  • Eating meals at regular times, listening to your body, and eating when hungry, contributes to having a more balanced and positive relationship with food.
  • Focusing on meals, eating slowly and without distractions, and being mindful (eating at a table instead of a desk) helps to develop healthy habits.
  • Breaks encourage healthy coping skills including exercise and quality time with coworkers.
  • Creating a healthy environment strengthens resolve to make healthy choices.
  • Prioritize your needs. It is so important to take care of yourself. In our busy lives it is very easy to get distracted and get pulled in different directions.


You are important. Take care of yourself.