Sharing meals is not just about traditional families. We create families in many environments. And since many people live alone, a great way to get their one daily shared meal is through the relationships they nurture at the office.
I’ve got a few ideas that will help you use the opportunity of a shared lunch (or breakfast) to help keep you refreshed during the day, and feeling connected with other human beings. Aren’t you done with that routine of eating a sandwich with one hand while you answer emails in your office cave? Who wants to spend 8+ hours in the office feeling isolated and glued to their computer and phones?
Here are some tips to help you refresh and “power up” your happiness during the workday.
1. Invite someone new to share a meal with you.
You don’t have to go to lunch with the same people every day. It’s refreshing to get a break from the faces of people in your immediate department. Why not invite someone you met at a meeting last week, or someone who works in a part of the company that has intrigued you, or even a former colleague who works nearby?
2. Stick to your plans
It’s easy to let a work issue bump your lunch plans, and that’s going to happen, but reserve the cancellations happen only when they are truly urgent.
3. Take turns choosing where you’ll go for lunch
Taking turns helps keep the ritual fun and fresh. When someone else picks, you’re more likely to discover a new place you never knew has the best pad thai in town. Sometimes when it’s my turn, I’ll opt for getting outdoors on a patio or at a nearby park. Since you want to maximize the time you have outdoors, plan ahead and bring a salad or sandwiches. Keep a blanket in the trunk of your car so no one’s work clothes get grass stains. You might get comments like, “We don’t have enough time for a picnic” but if you plan ahead, you’ll be soaking in sunshine in less time than you might have been fighting in traffic to get to a restaurant.
4. Put your smartphones away
It’s so tempting to want to monitor work emails, but if something is that urgent that you can’t keep off your phone for an hour, then reschedule lunch for a different day, or have a shared breakfast before your work day and priorities heat up.
5. Resist the shop talk
How many times have you been to lunch where someone is relentlessly gossiping, complaining, and talking shop? I’m all for helping people bounce off ideas and work through challenges, but just be careful that it doesn’t turn into a complaint-fest. The point of a shared meal is to keep connection, nurture relationships, and welcome some joy into your day.
Follow these tips and soon you’ll be enjoying a brand new kind of “power lunch”.
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If you’d like to learn more about how shared meals can help you reclaim life balance and preserve connection with others, visit my website or pick up my book The Shared-Meal Revolution by clicking here.