Why Eating at Your Desk Can Be Harmful to Your Health
With so many tasks on your to-do list, unanswered e-mails, and overdue deadlines, it’s easy to assume eating while attempting to do any of these activities will get us a few extra minutes. But make no mistake — nothing can be more counter-productive than this. Not only can chowing down at your desk cause health problems, but it can also make you work slower and less efficiently.
Now that we’re back at our desks after a good lunch break, Bright Side wants to share a few issues that you may face by choosing to eat at your desk.
1. It makes you stressed.
Eating lunch at your desk usually means that you’re having your meal in the same place you work or study. But you need some time away from your workstation. That alone can help you avoid more serious problems involving stress and even burnout.
Giving your brain a small break can also help you concentrate better and improve your mood so you can go back to work happier and with a performance boost.
2. It may cause health problems.
Office workers usually sit for too long with few chances of getting up. When we choose to eat at our desks, we extend this sitting period, which can cause a series of health problems. This may considerably increase the chances of developing heart problems. Also it reduces the blood flow in the legs, which can lead to various cardiovascular conditions.
Because of the reduced blood flow in the legs, you can also be at risk of varicose veins. Therefore, taking the time to get up and walk around for a few minutes can help our health in the long term.
3. It makes you socialize less, causing you to feel lonely.
It is important to make time for socializing in your day, even if it’s just picking up the phone and calling a friend. Some studies indicate that it may even benefit our immune system and gut function as well. Whether you work from home or at an office, we’re usually accompanied by nothing more than our computer screens during the day.
This can be socially isolating and may have a negative impact on our overall health, according to the American Psychological Association.
4. It decreases your productivity.
It’s misleading to think that eating at one’s desk can help save time. While we might think that multitasking is an excellent way to do things faster, it’s actually quite the opposite.
If you choose to eat a sandwich while trying to get some tasks done by the afternoon, chances are you’ll get some (if not all) of them done wrong, and it will take more time to do them anyway. Besides, it decreases our brain’s capacity to prioritize which tasks are the most important.
5. It can make you gain extra weight.
When we talk about a “couch potato,” the first thing that comes to mind is a person who watches TV while eating something, usually unhealthy food. There’s a reason for this: when we’re eating and are distracted by another activity, we tend to eat more.
The same applies to those who choose to have lunch at their desks. To avoid this, the best option is to focus on the meal you’re having at the moment. Using your smartphone counts as a distraction, so resisting the impulse to pull it out is also important.
6. It blocks your inspiration and creativity.
Eating at your desk will not be helpful if you’re hoping to find inspiration. An important part of the creative process is to change the environment, especially when it means being exposed to nature whenever possible. We already mentioned the brain’s need to get rest.
In this line of thought, shutting down the brain for a break will allow you to retrieve memories and link ideas, which is essential to creativity.
7. It exposes you to a lot of hazardous bacteria.
You can make your workstation as cozy as you like, but keep in mind that it can contain germs that are over 400 times more dangerous than the bacteria on toilet seats.
There have been studies that show 27% of all bacteria found in the office was on employees’ keyboards and can spread to other surfaces, like the computer mouse, telephone, or the desk itself.
Which of these problems have you experienced? Do you know of any other harmful effects this habit can have on you?