Did you know that your life might depend on your lunch break?
Jemme Stewart and Dr. Hilda White, owners of Upstream Mindfulness Center, both longtime mental health experts, teach students and clients that it is crucial to take time out of your daily routine to relax, meditate or practice a mindfulness exercise – especially in the daily grind of corporate life.
The two Midlands-based stress relief experts recommend taking time for a relaxing lunch break every day. Here, they share their recommendations.
Jemme and Hilda’s tips for a stress-free lunch break:
- Carve out some time for yourself to take a lunch break, even if you can only do 15 minutes. “When we work through lunch and don’t pace ourselves or slow down or stop to take a break, attention and concentration decline,” says Jemme. “Steady blood levels of good nutrients that feed the brain and taking a break from the demand of cognitive focus are both necessary for peak performance.”
- The corporate environment can be grueling. Move away from your workspace to avoid being pulled back into work, and to release tension. “When you don’t stop to relax, your muscles are building tension and fatigue, draining energy from you that you could be using toward productivity,” says Hilda.
- Stop and get still. “Get out of your mind and into your body,” say both in unison.
- Make your meal the focus of your attention in the moment. Jemme and Hilda teach this practice in their classes – eating a “mindful meal.” When you eat, make the activity of eating the focus, with aromas, tastes, textures and sights emerging. “Practice mindfulness of this moment as if your life depended on it, because ultimately, it does,” says Hilda.
- When time is up and you are transferring back into work after your lunch break, remember that you are much more than your job.
- For the rest of the day – and make this a habit – connect with nature in some way. “Look out the windows of your office; make your screensaver a photo of beautiful animals; take a quick break to walk around your building and listen to the birds chirp,” says Hilda. “Trust us – it will help you,” adds Jemme.
Their last piece of advice, from Hilda: “A brain that rests intermittently throughout the day is a creative brain.”
Get on track: Registration is currently open for Upstream’s Spring 2014 weekly lunchtime class series, Tuesdays, April 1-May 20, 11:30-1:45. Jemme and Hilda will teach busy professionals, parents, students and more mindful methods of managing stress, anxiety, burnout, pain, insomnia and other daily obstacles.