THREE SIMPLE WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS WITH A MORE MINDFUL BREAK
Do you eat your lunch at your desk? Whilst answering emails, checking Twitter, Instagram or doing your weekly online food shop? Are you really taking the time to take a true break and make sure you're actually witnessing your food and enjoying it?
We all do it! I have to physically restrain my hand from reaching for my phone whenever I sit down to eat. It seems like a reasonable thing to do, and a good point in a busy day during which to multi-task and get more done, or to catch up with the outside world. But it's a really bad habit that the majority of us have gotten into. If you put just a little thought into taking a considerably more mindful break, the impact over time can be incredibly effective, especially when it comes to managing stress levels and maintaining a greater sense of calm and wellbeing.
So here are three super simple things to do next time you sit down to eat a meal, especially your lunch during a busy working day. Try them out, give them a little of your time. If you're not convinced don't give up straight away. Over time the impact of such simple changes can really make a considerable difference.
THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER EACH TIME YOU GRAB YOUR LUNCH!
1. Step Away From Your Desk. Get some fresh air and find a quieter place, or at least a change of scenery, well away from your computer screen at which to eat your lunch.
2. Put Technology DOWN! And I really mean put that phone or tablet down. Push technology aside. Put your phone away. DO NOT spend your meal time browsing social media. This, for me, is one of the biggest challenges, my hand reaches for the phone and starts scrolling before my brain has even clocked what it's doing. But persevere. Resist the urge and concentrate on clearing the mind, breathing and reconnecting with yourself for a moment or two. Remove distractions, rather than add them.
3. Slowly Savour Those First Three Forkfuls. Generally we all need to take time to eat slower and with more thought. This is a great way to start but you'll be surprised how easy it is to forget to take time to notice those first three bites! This was one of the tasks we were set on the Search Inside Yourself Course back in February. If you can get into this habit, savour those first few moments at least, really take in the flavour, the texture, the temperature, everything that relates to what you're eating, it will help to calm your general approach to your meal. It's also vital for helping to understand when we're full to prevent us from over-eating. On another recent course I took part in, nutritional therapist Eva Kalinik discussed the fact that we should chew each bite a minimum of thirty times. Now this might sound extreme, but compare that to how you may be wolfing down your food in a rush right now and you may see that you need to strike a better balance.
FURTHER READING: Mindful Eating: 5 Easy Tips To Get Started via Huffpost Healthy Living.
So what will you do this lunchtime? Why not take the time to appreciate that break and do something to really help bring those stress levels down. Trust me, the afternoon will seem a lot more bearable if you do!