How to Revive Your Lunch Hour
There is power behind taking a full hour out of your busy work day- something that is often overlooked by most busy corporate types. Our days tend to be filled with endless urgent tasks, overwhelming work queues, demanding co-workers and emails.. oh the emails.
As the manic hours rush past it can be so easy to make a quick dash and grab for lunch- eating at your desk as you respond to all of your very important tasks like a mad-woman. Maybe you take some time to flick through instagram as you munch away- but most days you’re still sitting at your desk, eyes on some sort of screen and focusing primarily on whatever stress has presented itself to you for that day. Sound familiar? I'm sure many of you can relate to the above, skipping lunch can be quite common in the modern workplace and it's become easy for us to justify not taking a break.
So, why is this an issue? Not taking time for yourself at various points throughout your day has a massive impact on not just your mental health- but your physical and digestive wellbeing. When we eat in a frazzled state, our tummies actually can’t cope with the food we’re ingesting and every part of the system is disrupted. We may experience indigestion, bloating, sluggishness, constipation or diarrhoea. Not ideal, right?
The good news is- setting yourself some boundaries to enjoy your lunch in a blissful state is totally achievable. You are well within your rights to take at least 30 minutes out of your workday to eat and relax. So for goodness sake- own that time and make it worth it!
Here are my tips to transition you from lunch-break panic to peace:
Book your lunch hour as you would any other meeting
It’s time to be a professional- make this non-negotiable. Nourish and care for yourself, and see the difference in how you focus on your work and relate to your peers. Book out your lunch hour every single day, and make sure no one tries to double book you. If you tend to get super absorbed in your work, set up reminders. Let go of the guilt and allow yourself the time to unwind. If you struggle to keep up your commitment, find a trusted colleague to keep you accountable and join you in reclaiming the lunch hour. You deserve this time.
Eat away from your desk, outside if possible. Find a park, a nice bench or maybe treat yourself to a cafe lunch alfresco style. Keep away from smokers and enjoy some fresh air. If the weather’s not really doing it for you- at the very least eat in the lunch room or somewhere away from your desk. It’s key that you change up your space on your break. You’ll notice a shift in your post-lunch focus- for sure.
Go for a walk You might roll your eyes at this, but if you’re spending 8-12 hours on your butt at a desk every day you owe it to yourself to move in some way. Start with a 20 minute wander around the block or to some shops you like, and you could even try going for a faster paced walk or jog a couple of times a week to see how that feels for you. Just move that body, get some fresh air (maybe a little bit of sweat) and let your mind clear itself. Get creative and find something that you’re going to look forward too each day!
Eat Light, Feel Light Avoid heavy lunches that involve a lot of bread, pasta or rice. High carb meals are possibly the worst thing you could eat if you're going to spend the whole afternoon stationary. Having a high carb lunch will also contribute to that 3pm fog that leaves you reaching for the lolly jar. Instead crowd out the refined carbs with healthy fats like avocado & nuts, palm sized amount of protein, and a big load of veggies (salad, steamed, stir fried-doesn’t matter, just get them in your belly)
Make space for something fun at lunch. Call a friend who makes you laugh for a chat, watch a few cat videos on youtube, or spend time getting to know the office clown. Choose to lean into joy and always connect with something that you love doing on a daily basis.
Bonus points if you can find a way to have fun outside of your lunch hour as well.
Above all else- start valuing yourself and your time. Believe that you really do deserve to eat and digest in peace.
What are some of your lunchtime rituals that keep you sane? Share below x