On Friday afternoon I went a business in the Brisbane CBD to volunteer for a non-profit organisation I love. The organisation supports people with depression and anxiety and is an organisation I reached out to when I didn’t feel so good, mentally or emotionally a few years ago. I shared about the signs and symptoms of depression:
- Depression can be described as a low feeling or mood that lasts greater than 2 weeks.
- Anxiety can be described as having heightened levels of stress or panic which can appear with shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating or fear.
I also highlighted how developing healthy habits daily, like taking 30 minutes for lunch away from the desk, can help. When I mentioned taking 30 minutes away for lunch, I could see people shaking their heads. I find this really interesting. Last year I spoke at a bank about mental health in the corporate space and mentioned taking lunch away from the desk….and same reaction! People are not taking lunch or having breaks away from the desk.
I used to be like this when I worked in advertising. It would be a crazy thought to actually take 30 minutes away from the desk when there are emails to respond to, budgets to manage, clients to meet with….food? What a crazy idea.
I come from a corporate background and understand first hand the need to deliver excellent work, on-budget, on-time, with a smile on your face and with excellent rapport with team members and stakeholders. No pressure. 😉 However, the risk with skipping meals or eating on the run is you can get hangry!
Hangry is a thing and means half angry and half hungry. Julia Naftulin explores this further in her article ‘Feeling Hangry is a Real Thing.’
Julia Naftulin has included medical information as well in the article:
“When we do not eat, blood sugar goes low,” explains Deena Adimoolam, MD, an assistant professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone Disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. When your blood sugar falls, the hormones cortisol and epinephrine are released in an attempt to raise it back to normal. But those hormones also happen to lead to irritability, which explains why you’re so crabby when you skip breakfast.
If you are regularly skipping or eating lunch on the run, your brain gets cranky and is not rested….meaning performance may decline. Heather Yamada-Hosley has written a brilliant article called Stop Eating Lunch At Your Desk.
Taking care of nutrition and well-being, and eating lunch away from my desk, has helped me to level out emotionally at work and supported me to decrease anxiety and support mental health. I talk about a regular yoga practice, but yoga is more than the physical movement. It is about taking care to nourish the body regularly off the mat and daily decisions like food choices….and taking lunch away from the desk and switching off for 30 minutes each day.
How can you make supportive choices for yourself each day at work to support yourself and also your co-workers. Don’t be a hangry co-worker! Feed yourself lovingly!