Renewal for the Weary: Lunch Time ⋆ Politicrossing
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Renewal for the Weary: Lunch Time

You owe it to yourself to have enjoyable, mindful, and healthy lunches

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Lunch can be a wonderful time of day — much more than the mere ingestion of needed calories. If approached correctly, lunch can be a time for rest and personal renewal, at least on a small scale.

How often, however, do we force lunch in between work-related activities, such as dealing with staff, reviewing files, undertaking online research, responding to email, etc.?

Wolfing down otherwise nutritious food can, in part, negate the value of what you are ingesting. If you are giving lunch short shrift, from a physiological standpoint you might not be deriving the optimal nutritional benefits from the food you consume.

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Clear Away the Time

Fortunately, you can clear away the time and space to have a relatively leisurely lunch that will help sustain and fortify you to handle the rest of the day’s activities:

If you haven’t already done so, schedule lunch each day. Go to your appointment calendar, or scheduling software, and mark those times during which you designate as lunchtime. Make it longer than it physically takes you to consume whatever you choose to eat.

If you bring your own food, for example, a 30-minute lunch time is usually more than enough time to finish what you have. Typically, a brown bag lunch takes only 12 to 18 minutes to consume.

By scheduling additional time, even if a few minutes, you can eat more slowly and mindfully, properly digest your food, and take a real break from your work.

In and Out

If you eat at a nearby restaurant, make plans so that you’re in and out relatively easily. Perhaps you can have a standing reservation on Tuesdays with one establishment, and then do the same for other days, with other establishments.

Consider the atmosphere and the food served. Is it calming and nourishing? If the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, consider having your lunch at a less busy time.

Reflect upon what you are eating. Is it nutritious and balanced? Whatever you choose to eat for lunch, ensure that it is not fast food. There is no need to recount the negative effects of consuming questionably sourced meat products, fried food, and foods laced with bad fats, sugars, and excess salt.

The cumulative effect of consuming fast food has been well-documented and does not support your health or well-being. So, before you run into that fast food restaurant, take a moment to think about what you will be eating and its effects on your body, for that afternoon and in the long term.

Keep it Light

When having lunch with a friend or staff person, strive to keep the conversation light. Lunch is not the time to dwell upon heavy duty issues. It is a good time to bond with others, to talk about topics unrelated to the office, or to simply shoot the breeze.

By all means, ensure that you have the capability to return from lunch in a leisurely manner.

No matter how unhurried your consumption of food might have been, if you have to hustle back to the office for a key staff meeting, once again, you might negate the benefits of everything that transpired before your frenzied return.

A Rewarding Time

With the right mindset and a few simple guidelines such as those discussed above, you can turn your lunchtime into something a bit more rewarding, if not much more, than it has been.

You owe it to yourself to have enjoyable, mindful, and healthy lunches, and to receive the associated benefits in terms of job satisfaction, effectiveness, and personal well-being.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Life

Your Days Do Not Have to Race By

Much of what you experience each day, in terms of the passage of time, is based on your perception

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Whenever you feel you’re racing the clock or trying to tackle too much at once, try this exercise:

Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine a pleasant scene. You might be surrounded by trees or with a loved one. It could be something from childhood. Let the emotions of that place and time pervade you. Get into it! Give yourself more than a minute for the visualization to take hold.

Open your eyes and return to what you’re doing. Whatever care or task you’re working on is not quite so bad and your pace is never quite so feverish. Realistically, much of what you experience each day, in terms of the passage of time, is based on your perception. You can slow down time if you choose.

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Pause and Reflect

Imagine you’re flying on an airplane. You have a window seat, and it’s a clear day. As you gaze down to the ground below, what do you see? Life passing by. Cars the size of ants. Miniature baseball diamonds. Rivers the size of streams. There’s something about being at great heights that enables you reflect on your life.

The same phenomenon can take place from the top of a mountain or skyscraper. As often as practical things seem to be racing by too fast, seek higher ground, literally, for a clearer perspective.

If you’re among the lucky, perhaps you regularly allocate time for reflection or meditation. If you don’t, it’s no matter. There are other ways to make it all “slow down.”

After the workday, listen to relaxing music and close your eyes. A half hour of your favorite music with your eyes closed and no disturbances can seem almost endless. When you re-emerge, the rest of the day takes on a different tenor.

An effective method for slowing down time and catching up with today is periodically deleting three items from your “to do list” without doing them at all. Before you shriek, consider that much of what makes your list is arbitrary.

In most cases, eliminating three items won’t impact your career or life, except for freeing up a little time for yourself in the present.

A Change in Medium

I have long used water to reduce stress. For eleven years, I lived in a high-rise condominium in Falls Church, Virginia, complete with its own 25 meter pool. No matter how hard I worked during the day, even if I did a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. stint, at 6:05 p.m. I was in the pool. After 30 minutes of laps, I had swum out many of the stresses and strains of the day.

Now that I live in North Carolina, more rural by comparison, I have lakes! Here I can swim for a mile in one direction and rarely encounter anyone else. Find the swimming hole nearest you!

In the Animal Kingdom

If you have a dog or cat and do not consider it a drain on your time, here’s a little something about Rover or Mittens that you may not have known. In recent years, as reported by U.S. News & World Report, scientists have found proof for what was only once suspected: Contact with animals has specific and measurable effects on both your body and mind.

The mere presence of animals can increase a sick person’s chances of survival, and has been shown to lower heart rate, calm disturbed children, and induce incommunicative people to initiate conversation!

The exact mechanisms that animals exert to affect your health and well-being are still largely mysterious. Scientists suspect that animal companionship is beneficial because, unlike human interaction (!), it is uncomplicated.

Animals are nonjudgmental, accepting and attentive; they don’t talk back, criticize, or give orders. Animals have a unique capacity to draw people out.

Even if you only have goldfish, sometimes simply staring at them in their silent world can help deaden your hectic pace.

Catching up with Today

1. Constantly read your list of priorities and goals.
2. Challenge and defeat your own ritual behavior.
3. Consider the outcome of not handling something.
4. Convincingly, but politely, say no.
5. Call rather than visit.

6. Clear your desk of all but the task at hand.
7. Clear your files of everything that can be recycled.
8. Cancel something you had already scheduled.
9. Choose from what you already have.
10. Choose to get a good night’s sleep every night.

When you consider all of the ways you add unnecessary pressures to your day, you begin to see many ways to catch up with today or, at least, with this week.

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Life

12 Things I have Learned that Could Benefit Others

My life experiences have led me to the following observations

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Never write-off others because they are too old, too young, too rich, too poor, or for any other superficial reason. Every person on the planet has some knowledge that could benefit others, including the people you work with everyday. You’ll be surprised by the wisdom you can gain by simply listening with a non-judgmental ear.

I could be right or I could be wrong, but my life experiences have led me to the following observations. I hope some benefit you:

Half a Dozen

1. Do not lament that you’re not smarter than you are, or that you’re not as good at something as you would like to be. You can accomplish nearly anything you want through hard work. Your skills develop over the course of your life, and you can develop new ones. Maybe your boss will foot the bill for training, or maybe you have to enroll and pay for yourself. Further, recognize the things at which you are adept and put your talents to use, rather than struggling to excel in the wrong career.

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2. It is of little use to dwell on the past and wish you could change it. Making mistakes and feeling as if you’ve squandered time is a natural part of life that happens to everyone. Anew, view your youth with a healthy perspective; while you might have squandered some time, you probably also accomplished a lot and had some fun along the way.

3. Never become so caught up in dwelling on your mistakes that you fail to seize present opportunities. You have time left in your life to move on and use it productively.

4. Regard change as a recurring event. It’s a part of life and certainly part of your work. You won’t be the same person at 30 that you were at 20, or the same at February 25, 2020 that you will be at 40 or 60. Growing in all different ways is a good thing. If you went through life with the mindset of a 20 year old, you would miss a lot of the joys of adulthood. While change can be disconcerting at first, each stage of life becomes more (or at least as) enjoyable and fulfilling than the previous one.

5. Make a constant effort to grow. Challenge yourself mentally. Explore different means of spirituality. Place yourself in new social situations. Unfamiliar scenarios are usually a little frightening at first but, with time, the unfamiliar becomes the familiar, and you’re glad you took the chance. Move out of your comfort zone and explore.

6. Stay flexible. In our rapidly changing society, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the technological innovations and information you think you need to absorb in order to function productively at work and even at home. Rest assured that everyone feels the same way. Remaining flexible is key to maintaining productivity. Find ways to make the changes in your work life advantageous.

Another Half Dozen

7. Life is a continuing process, and there is no one point when you become magically grown up and have accomplished everything you wanted. If there was such a point, what would you do when you got there?

8. The nature of life is to constantly grow and change, and there is always more to learn and experience. Be wary of feeling as if you have reached the pinnacle of all of your experiences and accomplishments. If you become complacent, that point really will be the pinnacle of your life, since you won’t feel compelled to achieve even more.

9. You only have so much time and energy in your life. To feel fulfilled, you must choose what things you want to spend most of your time and energy doing. Choosing your priorities might take some soul-searching, or they might be obvious. Is family most important to you? Or, do you envision a time-consuming career? Whatever your interests, you must define your priorities in order to be productive. You can try to have a dozen different ‘priorities,’ but they will hardly be priorities, and you likely won’t pay sufficient attention to each. Decide what few things are important to you, and spend most of your time and energy supporting those priorities.

10. Never underestimate the power of your attitude and the effect it has on your perceptions. In general, people see what they want to see. If you’ve heard something negative about a person before you meet them, you are more likely to dislike that person right off the bat, regardless of anything they do or say. The same holds true for almost every situation in life: There are both beautiful and horrible things in the world. If you think positively, you’re more likely to notice the beautiful things. If you think negatively, you will pick up on all the not-so-great things that occur.

11. Many people seem to blame the mistakes in their life on some unseen force that constantly brings them down. They think they are just unlucky or that others are out to get them. For the most part, this is not the case. Almost everything that happens to us results from the choices we make, consciously or unconsciously. Not choosing becomes a choice in itself. Don’t ignore the tough choices you will have to make.

Blaming fate for your misfortunes leads nowhere; taking control of your life and the choices you face does. To empower yourself, recognize the choices in your life for what they are and consciously make the best decision you can. Something completely random will happen to you occasionally and you have no control over that. Still, realize that most of the things that happen to you don’t merely “happen to you.”

12. Making effective decisions can be difficult. The best decisions result from careful thought. However, don’t ignore your gut feeling about something. We have instincts for a reason, and such instincts don’t often lead you astray. Sometimes it is detrimental to overthink an issue; instead go with what ‘your little’ voice tells you. You’ll be surprised how much you don’t realize you already know. The subconscious is a powerful thing. When you can harness some of that power and put it to use in the conscious world, you will find that the things your little voice tells you are usually on target.

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