Some food for thought

Some food for thought

Health matters

Some food for thought

One of the nicest things about life is how we must regularly stop what we are doing and devote our attention to eating’, said a great man once.

He would have been pretty horrified had he seen the state of affairs today. Eating is no more a peaceful activity. Rather, it is the only one which you can skimp on and save time while rushing to meet those deadlines and tight schedules. Hurried lunches, quick bites or that occasional late night work snack — many of us choose the convenience of gulping these while sitting at our desks. And in doing so, we invite a host of problems.

It is no secret that sitting for a long stretch of time is detrimental to one’s health. “We are glued to our chairs for the better part of the day. Lunch break is one of the few times when we can allow ourselves a bit of rest and an opportunity to clear our minds,” says Sajai Satheesan, the assistant vice-president of an MNC. “There are many people who utilise their lunch break to finish their work. While that is understandable, I also see some people sitting and checking Facebook or YouTube during that time. This is an interval when you get to socialise with fellow workers and build a rapport with them. With some proper time management, one can make time for a relaxed meal with team mates or friends.”

While there are some people who prefer the virtual world of social media over interacting with people around them, for many others eating at their workstations is a necessity and not a choice. Says Akshay S V, “I don’t like to eat at my desk but sometimes it is a compulsion when you work around really tight schedules and time is a luxury. I do try and go out as much as possible but that is easier said than done. There have been days when I have not got time for lunch at all and have had to make do with a snack or something. But I try to compensate by going to the gym during the weekends.”

There are ways in which the physical negatives of such a practice can be neutralised, says Dr Renu, a private practitioner, but getting a whiff of fresh air is necessary for mental wellbeing as well. “We all know the problems caused by this on the posture, spinal cord and eyesight. But other than that, taking a break from the office environment and socialising with people lowers your blood pressure and stress levels too. It makes you a much more productive person.”

Sajai agrees. “Eating at your desk means you are not concentrating properly on either your work or the food. When you pay attention to what you are eating, you not only enjoy it more but also become a healthy eater.”

Sometimes, it can be the case that none of one’s colleagues go out to eat that chains them to their desk during breaks. “I feel guilty about going out when my team mates are sitting at their desks. So I too sit there and eat,” says Abhilash V Babu, chief accountant at a construction firm. “But usually I make it a point to go out. It clears my head and it is a welcome relief to be able to stretch my legs too. Also it saves my desk from getting messy.” So if you are forced to sit and eat at your desk, don’t take it...well, sitting down. Stand up for your right to stand up!

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