Nutrition: Get away from your desk and turn mealtimes into 'me-time'

It's much healthier to take a break from your desk at lunchtime
It's much healthier to take a break from your desk at lunchtime

IT CAN be a tricky balancing act to juggle a busy working day with all the other demands that real life throws at us. If you are struggling to carve out a little space in your day for downtime and rest, then I have an idea that could have huge benefits for your health and wellbeing.

Sometimes life gets so busy that it can feel overwhelming to try and juggle all the demands we have to meet in our waking hours, but we all have to eat: so, why not use your mealtimes as an opportunity to take a mini-break from the demands of your day?.

Rather than grabbing a rushed breakfast, eating lunch at your desk and devouring dinner in front of a box-set, being a little more mindful at mealtimes can help reduce feelings of being overwhelmed, improve how well you absorb the nutrients in your meal and help you to 'get your head showered' from the demands of your busy day, so that you are likely to feel more productive and less stressed overall.

Don't think of this as another thing on your to-do list, but rather a way of rethinking your daily routine to give yourself a break, go a bit easier on your self and improve your work-life balance.

Here's how:

Taking time to savour your meals will help you to relax
Taking time to savour your meals will help you to relax

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FORGET ABOUT MULTI-TASKING: It doesn't work for anyone. Do one thing at a time, so if you are eating, switch off your phone and laptop, stop scrolling social media and get away from your desk to concentrate on eating the food that you have chosen to nourish your body with.

GET INTO A ROUTINE: Have your meals at regular times when possible and never, ever skip meals. Leaving too long between meals is likely to leave you on a blood-sugar rollercoaster, feeling 'hangry', stressed out and unable to focus or concentrate as well as when you are well fed.

SIT AT A TABLE TO EAT : It's better for your posture and your digestion. Tune into your senses to switch out of 'fight-or-flight' and into 'rest-and-digest' mode.

The next time you are sitting down to a meal, take a little time to appreciate the food on your plate:

  1. How does your food look? Notice the variety, colour and texture on your plate.
  2. How does your food smell? Savour the aroma of your food as you cook or eat your meal.
  3. How does your food sound? Tune into the sound your food makes as you chop or chomp.
  4. How does your food feel? Notice how the textures feel in your mouth and how they change as you chew.

SET TIME TO GET AWAY FROM YOUR DESK: At lunchtime, even 10 to 15 minutes can make a big difference to your energy, mood and productivity in the afternoon. Think about this as a reboot. You'll work so much more efficiently after a little time out in the middle of your day.

GET OUTSIDE AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH: When we are under stress, our breathing gets affected – we may be taking more shallow berths, or holding our breath. Refresh yourself by getting outside and taking in some fresh air. Go for a walk, switch your exercise to lunchtime or even just eat your lunch outside (maybe unlearn umbrella if this weather keeps up!).

Try doing all of these when you can for a week or so and notice what difference it makes to your feelings of stress, anxiety or being overwhelmed.