Taking a Break to Eat

I am a notorious eat-on-the-run person. Sometimes it’s hard for me to take time to eat. True story: At an old job, I used to set reminders for myself in Microsoft Outlook to take a lunch break.

Fast-forward 10 years, and I do take breaks just about every day, without the aid of my computer, but I tend to eat at my desk. Sometimes it’s just easier logistically to do things that way. Or, I’m content to entertain myself during my lunch hour by checking out the news, at my desk, on the computer. And when the weather gets cold? Forget it. My office is my hibernation cave.

Recently, someone strongly urged me to go outside for a break after lunch, as a stress buster. This was on a day that I hadn’t gone outside for lunch. I went outside, and it was refreshing. The temperature was balmy for fall, at 60+ degrees, the sun was shining, and the clouds were scarce. I sat and collected my thoughts for a blog post, and got to write out a bit of it. Then, I soaked in the sun and fresh air.

I treasured that time I had outdoors. It’s for that reason that when I’m motivated I go to the park for lunch, even if it means just sitting in my car. I’m not particularly consistent at it, but these are benefits I get from actually taking a break for my break:

I get to relax. The change of venue, the feeling of the sun on your body, or even being able to crank up a favorite tune and belt it out behind the closed doors of your car can be a welcome change of pace to a hectic day, or the desert to your lunch. When I feel that relaxed, I’m less likely to seek comfort from food, or in some other wrong way.

No interruptions. If no one can find you, no one can bring drama your way!

A new perspective. Sometimes the change of venue gives your mind a chance to refocus. If you’ve been trying to tackle a tough problem all day, see if you feel any different about it after you come back from a lunch break. I bet you will.

You’re more likely to savor the food. If you eat away from your desk and really pay attention to what you’re eating, you’ll probably enjoy it more than if you were distracted and eating at your desk. All the taste notes of a salad will come into focus, for example: the cool, crispness of the lettuce, the firmness and earthy tartness of the tomatoes, the smokiness of turkey breast, the sharpness of cheddar, and the taste of your favorite salad dressing. Letting it sink in that you’re enjoying some good food lets your body know its being taken care of physically and mentally.

Writing this post makes me eager for a chance to embrace the great outdoors and enjoy my meal at the same time. If you suffer from my homebody-at-work affliction, I hope it inspires you, too!

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