My pitch was something like, “Listen to me. what if i took a break for lunchAnd then I wrote about my experience?!” Innovative, I know. But from the “I need to do that too” chants from our editorial team, I knew it was a worthwhile subject. And I was curious… what stops us from enjoying an intentional break at noon? For a culture that is so focused on personal care, mindful eatingand in general protecting the environmentWhy is it so hard to have a real lunch break? I began my search, armed with a list of lunchtime ideas and with the best of intentions.
image by Michelle Nash
The challenges of taking a lunch break
My hypothesis was this: If I stop working during lunch, my afternoon will actually become plus productive because I give my brain and body a chance to rest and recharge.
Next, I had to acknowledge my own individual challenges. There are many reasons why a person might skip (or beat) a lunch break. From busy days to looming deadlines, we’ve all been there. Personally, my brain does this thing that tells me I’ll actually complete my to-do list if I keep writing while shoveling a salad into my mouth.
I also really enjoy my job, so it often feels like a pleasure to continue working while I’m heating up leftovers. (If that sentence makes you roll your eyes, I get it. I’ve been there.) But my biggest challenge is specific to a working mom. My children are home from school/camp during the last two hours of my work day. And while my husband takes on the role of Point Parent, my goal is always to get the most focused work done before the kids get home, so those thirty minutes in the middle of the day? Is it so beautiful me
However, I do believe in the power of intention and giving myself a little kindness in the middle of the day.
So, I set the parameters for the lunch break: no phone, no laptop, no job. Instead, a moment to focus on an often overlooked meal. But…because I’m one of the classic older daughters who stand out, it wasn’t enough to just to eat on a lunch break. I decided that tackling a short walk or a few minutes of reading wouldn’t be too much to handle, would it?
It took me a few days to commit, but I finally did.
The Lunch Break Diaries
Day 1: A friend stops by to say hello. I’m getting away from my computer! We chatted for about 10 minutes. I heat up the leftovers and… go back to my computer. I work to meet a deadline while spooning turkey chili into my mouth. Oh! You must try harder tomorrow.
So I did it.
Day 2: I finish a meeting around noon and notice that I am hungry. My 2-year-old is “skipping school” for a day with dad, so we have lunch together and talk about her favorite color (pink) and my favorite color of hers (according to her, pink). I have 5 minutes left, so I tell Siri to set a timer for a quick ride back and forth before I sit down at my desk. Really? I feel lighter and more prepared to tackle my pending tasks for the afternoon.
I’ll save every journal entry for you, but the next few days followed the same pattern of “slips” (for lack of a better term) and significant lunch breaks. I found a new challenge in that my days never look the same and often in-person meetings or photo shoots mean my lunch break is taking the scenic route or walking from cafe to cafe.
In the end, I definitely couldn’t link a productive afternoon to an intentional midday break. but I realized that my lunchtime ideas were Really never about becoming a productivity machine, even if that was the original hypothesis. It would be a nice byproduct, sure, but the real intent was to acknowledge the deep sigh in the middle of the day. A realignment of myself by picking up a book just for pleasure. Or listen to a podcast for no reason other than to laugh. Or go for a walk because my body longs for a moment to move freely.
No wonder here, this “experiment” is a work in progress. In any case, I will continue this practice of actively listening to my body come around noon and try to give it what it needs.
8 Lunch Break Ideas for a Midday Reboot
image by Michelle Nash
Here are some lunchtime ideas to make the most of its thirty minutes… you must choose to take them.
- Prepare lunch ahead of time. Skipping day-to-day prep means more room for activities. I’m always grateful for leftovers that simply require a quick reheat. But preparing some things for quick lunches during the week It is a good decision if you are not going to cook every night.
- Or not. If you’re the kind of person who finds your body relaxing with a vegetable cutlet, why not take advantage of your lunch hour to put some intentionality behind the preparation? Enjoy the salad toss or the browning of a grilled sandwich.
- Do some breathing work. Drop your shoulders. Take a deep breath. And repeat. Breathwork aids in brain function, reduces stress levels, and helps level out your emotions. Are here three simple exercises attempt.
- Try a meditation app. apps for reduces stress It may sound counterintuitive, but it could be one of the best ways to find a break in your phone.
- Fit in a little face yoga. I am so intrigued by face yoga but I haven’t pinpointed where it fits into my routine. Why not during lunch?
- Or some full body yoga. A quick fifteen minutes (or less!) yoga routine it could actually be transformative in the middle of the day. Never discount what a few deep stretches can do in a short amount of time.
- Go for a walk. My current move of choice, there is nothing like a walk to reset my brain and body. It never fails to put me in a more creative and energized space, even if it’s just a ten minute walk. Also, Camille once shared this fascinating fact about how a brisk walk after a meal can reduce glucose spikes and I’m obsessed with the idea.
- Read something you really enjoy. Often if I’m reading on a day at work, I feel the need to read a book that aligns with my career goals or furthers my education in a specific area. But diving into a rich transportation history in the middle of the day is a special kind of indulgence. The key is having the self-control to put the book down after a chapter (or two).
What else would you add? Do you regularly take a lunch break? Leave your ideas in the comments and let us know how. your make those thirty minutes count.