How do you want to feel after lunch?

Take back your lunch for more energy and focus

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash

Which of these lunch scenarios will help you to feel the way you want to feel after lunch?

A) Instead of leaving your office, you sit at your desk. You stare at your computer screens while wolfing down your lunch. If asked, you won’t remember what you ate. Crumbs litter your keyboard. If you were lucky, you left your desk to step outside and grab your lunch before heading back to the desk.

B) You work at home caring for others or from a home office. You nibble on foods throughout the day but don’t take the time to eat an actual lunch yourself. If you are caring for a child or older relative, you make sure that they get fed but forget about yourself.

C) You have put aside your responsibilities for at least 30 minutes. You are eating a healthy lunch alone. When your fork reaches your mouth, you take the time to chew your food and enjoy the taste. You enjoy the change of scenery from where you were doing your work. You might take a brief walk or a nap before getting back to work.

D) You have put aside your responsibilities for at least 30 minutes. While eating lunch with friends, family, or colleagues, you talk about anything except work. When your fork reaches your mouth, you take the time to chew your food and enjoy the taste. You enjoy the change of scenery from where you were doing your work. After lunch, you take a brief walk together.

Options A and B won’t help you feel the way you want to feel. And yet, that is how many of us eat lunch. No, I did not like it. Plus, the afternoon dragged on and on while my energy diminished more every second.

Don’t blame yourself if you have the bad habit of eating lunch at your desk or not stopping to take an actual lunch break. In the United States, our bad lunch habits might have started when we were in school. Many of us had to inhale our lunches in short periods of time. Or, we ate fast so that we could have more time on the playground.

Lunch breaks in other places

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash featuring one of my favorite lunches in Japan.

I have experienced lunch by living, studying and working in other countries and having colleagues from other places. Here are some observations:

  • In Belgium, my fellow high school students had an hour for lunch. We all spent some time outside eating lunch or walking to a nearby restaurant or food vendor to buy lunch.
  • In Japan, my coworkers and I would walk to nearby restaurants. We chatted, got out of our windowless office, and got a little exercise.
  • I have had colleagues from China who could take brief power naps anywhere after lunch. In fact, they told me that teachers in China were required to take a nap after lunch.
  • A colleague from Spain also always took a nap after lunch and missed the siestas of his home country.
  • If you are curious about lunch in other countries, you might enjoy this article from Saveur magazine. I would like to experience French lunch breaks.

How will you spend your lunch break today?

I am going to eat some leftover chili in my kitchen and then take a walk in my neighborhood on an unseasonably warm sunny day. I hope that this rest and renewal will leave me feeling more energized, focused and productive for the rest of the afternoon.

Reclaim your lunch break manifesto

It’s time to take back your lunch break. You deserve it! Click here to receive my lunch break manifesto.


Kelsey Cleveland helps women navigate transitions and their conflicting desires. Using the Desire Map method, she helps them to plan their lives with intention based on how they want to feel. She is also a freelance writer who writes articles, essays and blog posts and is working on a book-length memoir about conflicting desires.

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