Lunchtime rolls around and you feel so swamped that you decide to eat at your desk or maybe you skip your break altogether. Does this sound like you? We’ve all been there at some point. But taking conscious breaks is crucial for a productive mindset. Using precious lunch break minutes to cook may not seem like the best use of your time, but it actually might be more beneficial than you think.

Cook to Improve Yourself and Your Work

Cooking is scientifically proven to yield benefits similar to the ones provided by therapy and meditation. It can also help you connect with others, be healthier and improve your productivity. Here are eight reasons why you should consider cooking during your lunch break:

Enter a Low-Stress Environment 

A study published by the British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that all of the participants appreciated the kitchen environment. Participants reported feeling safe, supported and free of pressure while in this environment. While in the kitchen, you can leave behind your work stress and be productive because you want to instead of because you have to.

Build Confidence

Mistakes are going to happen when you cook, but this trial and error builds up confidence that can carry over to your work outside of the kitchen. The victory of successfully finishing a recipe — even a quick or simple one — also bolsters confidence and makes you feel accomplished. Accomplishing things in the kitchen puts you in the mindset to continue being productive long after your lunch break ends.

Sharpen Focus

Cooking during your lunch break can help you refocus and be more productive when you return to work. You can use cooking, for example, as one of the extended breaks in the Pomodoro technique to recharge. Mindful cooking helps you develop focus as you fix your attention on the sights, sounds, smells and textures wafting about the kitchen. This sharpened focus can translate to your work outside the kitchen.

Boost Happiness 

A study published by Positive Psychology found that devoting time to creative activities like cooking increased well-being, enthusiasm and the feeling of personal growth. These positive effects were observed on the same day that the creative activities took place, but also had benefits that lasted for days after. This means that you can return to work feeling happier and more enthusiastic about getting stuff done.

Create New Bonds

Cooking with coworking buddies is a great way to make new friends. If your lunch break aligns with other coworkers’ lunch breaks, invite them to make a meal with you. Exchange recipes and share something you made together. Cooking for coworking buddies is another fun way to build new bonds — nothing attracts people more than free, delicious food. 

Please note that if you’re planning on cooking in a coworking space kitchen, make sure to follow local rules and take safety precautions while COVID-19 is still a threat.

Take a Break from Screens

Much of the time spent working involves screens, like your computer, laptop or phone. All of that exposure to blue light can be harmful to your health and productivity at work. Extended exposure to blue light can cause digital eye strain, induce headaches and even disrupt your sleep if you work late. Shutting off your screen and turning on the stove can give you a much-needed break.

Make Use of Kitchen Access

Cooking during your lunch break is a great way to take advantage of the kitchen that your coworking space has to offer. Your coworking space’s kitchen may have resources that you usually don’t have access to — such as ingredients, cooking appliances and extra space — that can allow you to explore new recipes you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to try.

This also goes for those working from home, you’re paying for your kitchen space—might as well make good use of it!

Eat Healthier

Another benefit of cooking for yourself is being able to have complete control over the food that you’re putting in your body. This means that you have the power to create a healthier and more inexpensive alternative to eating out. You can also better accommodate any dietary restrictions or preferences that you may have.

So next time you have a lunch break, consider using it to cook. You’ll create mouthwatering meals and a happier and more productive you. See more about how cooking is a form of self-care in the visual below (provided by Kitchen Cabinet Kings):

The post 8 Reasons To Cook During Your Lunch Break was published on Coworkaholic.

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