Here, Ko Im—tech editor, lifestyle blogger and wellness teacher—tells us how and why she uses her lunch break to disconnect.
Do you consider yourself to be a habitual person? Does establishing habits come easily for you or take a lot of work?
In a way we can be all creatures of habit, but for me, breaking habits is easier than forming habits. Many habits are formed unconsciously and sometimes one habit takes the place of another, but I’m hopeful about creating positive, lasting behavior.
What made you decide that you wanted to make eating away from your desk a daily habit?
I haven’t worked in a traditional office setting (mostly off-site, on the road, etc.) and having read a lot about how people claim (and sometimes take pride in being) “always busy” and wanting to approach my new job in a healthy way, I thought one channel would be during the lunch hour, which happens every day. A moment can reset or make or break your day.
How did you first go about implementing it into your routine? Did you start slowly, or go all in and revamp your everyday routine off the bat?
I went all in from my first week, and pivot when I can.
Once you decided to commit, how long did it take you to establish this habit as something that came naturally/easily on a daily basis?
Sustenance is fairly important to me, so it wasn’t hard to keep food as top of mind, but it became more about what or how I eat. Am I eating better snacks, am I breathing and being alive when I eat in order to connect/disconnect/reconnect?
What “bad” habits got in the way or made it harder to establish this “good” habit?
Worrying is cause for delay or disruption; like worrying if I’m spending too much time away from email or I’ll miss something. But the world doesn’t end, and turning my eyes away from a screen, I believe, makes me more efficient in the end.
What “tricks” made it easier to incorporate this habit into your daily routine while you were still working on resetting your mindset and making it something that became second nature?
It helps that there’s a physical separate space, à la cafeteria. Going outside to buy lunch sometimes makes me have to step away. Only recently, I set at least half-hour windows to an automatic weekly schedule (I swear by google Calendar and its reminders). Also, if I anticipate a slow day, then I’ll accept a friend or a work-meeting over lunch near the office.
Do you find it easier or harder to maintain this habit during the week versus the weekend when schedules tend to be more relaxed and flexible?
Good question. I try to be much more relaxed overall and less structured on the weekend, but that actually makes me more mindful of the time I take in preparing meals or going out for dinner as an occasion, not just another meal.
Are there still days where you get caught up in a busy schedule and skip this habit? If so, how do you handle it? Does it have an impact on the rest of your daily routine?
Of course, but the trick is not to get mad at yourself for not following through on something! You might start to notice a difference at the end of one day versus another just having blinders on without food, email after email. There are rare times where my hunger doesn’t send me a painful alert, and I forget.
What other habits are you currently working on adding to your daily routine?
I try to make all meal times a little more mindful. Breakfast I won’t scroll through my phone. If I’m eating with others aside from the initial food Instagram-ready photo shot, I try to put my phone away. I look at it and social way too often (but I don’t when abroad, and disconnected for three weeks except the occasional email in Bali).
Did you learn anything from making this habit that you find helpful when implementing other new habits, or that other people way find helpful when trying to implement a habit of their own?
I think about this as a daily meditation. We can apply this to all areas of life. To really be in the moment. It’s all we have, and they all pass, just like plates of food. Am I right? Bon appetit!
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