How to Get the Most Out of Your Lunch
1. Get Outside-
Getting a change of setting can be really restorative. Not only does getting outside help with some natural Vitamin D, it can be really great to step away from what you’re doing for several reasons. This brain-break alone helps set a figurative “reset” button and allows you to then return with a fresh perspective. When you remain in the office or at your desk, it does not feel like you ever left work. The things you’ve been working on are still hanging around in figurative clouds overhead. Taking this time for yourself actually enables you to come back more restored and better able to work effectively than if you’d never left.
2. Be Present with your Lunch-
When was the last time you sat and ate without distractions? No cell phone, tablet, computer, television, or any other screen going simultaneously? My guess would be it’s been a while. Do you remember how your lunch was yesterday or if you even took the time to eat it sitting down? Maybe it’s hard to remember what you even had- let alone what the texture and flavors were like. Try practicing sitting with your food and taking the time to be fully present with it. Pay attention to your five senses from the moment you sit to eat to when the last bit has been swallowed.
There are some really great guided apps out there with all kinds of meditations of various lengths. Different ones will speak to you on different days. Maybe today is an anxiety meditation while another day a thought meditation speaks more to you. Whatever you choose, meditation is very helpful in regulating mood, supporting focus, and allowing us to be present with ourselves.
Deep breathing has a natural calming effect. It activates our parasympathetic nervous system that helps us in relaxing. So take some deep breaths that push your belly out and stretch your diaphragm. If your shoulders are rising, try again. I read once about someone doing a hundred of these every day. It took somewhere between 7-8 minutes. You could certainly do that. I’m suggesting that you do at least 20. Commit to it. Allow yourself to take the time for you.
5. Take a nap
Our energy level dips in the early afternoon. If this coincides with when you generally take a lunch break, it can be very beneficial to take a 20-minute nap. This helps in making you feel more rested and is not long enough to leave that groggy feeling. This also serves as a reset button for our working memory, allowing us to return to work with more space to retain information.
6. Take a Walk
A walk on your lunch break helps with getting your body moving and away from your desk. The exercise can help improve mood and leave you feeling refreshed when you return to work. The act of forward motion while sorting through thoughts can also be really beneficial in feeling that you are working through things, rather than sitting in them.