• Meditating after a healthy lunch sets you up for a strong afternoon
  • Be smart with what you eat to get the biggest benefits from meditation
  • Celebrate your morning wins to generate positive vibes for the rest of the day
It’s been another crazy morning. Ever since you sat down, it’s been one thing after another.

You’ve been putting out fires from the moment you opened your inbox. You couldn’t seem to say no to any requests, even though you’re already drowning in work.

Next thing you know, it’s lunchtime and you’re frazzled and exhausted. And you’ve barely made a dent in your to-do list. There’s no way around it. You’re going to have to work through lunch again, even though it only adds to the stress and messes up your health.

It might seem like a smart move but it’s not going to help you get more done over the long run.

No matter how much shit you have to deal with, you need to get away from the chaos and use your lunch hour to have a mental break. It’s a vital opportunity to recharge so you can get through the rest of the day.

But you don’t have to stop at just having a break. You can take your lunch hour to another level by including meditation after you’ve eaten.

If you’ve never tried, you’re missing out on a good thing. It’s going to transform your afternoons from just gotta through this to bring it on.

Why You Need To Get Away From Your Desk

Before we dive in, let’s talk about what changes you can expect when you quit eating lunch hunched over your keyboard.

Eating lunch at your desk isn’t good for you. It might seem like a smart way to power through your work and get ahead but don’t be fooled. There are real dangers to working through lunch that you may not know about.

Stepping away from work during the day improves your quality of work and does your health a big favor too. Even if nobody else leaves their desk, you’ve got to take a break and look after yourself.

Here are some of the good things that will happen when you take a real lunch break and get away from all the bullshit for a bit. 

1) You’re More Productive Overall

Working through lunch might seem like the smart option. It’s all about getting it done ASAP, right?

But hunkering down at your desk doesn’t make you more productive over the long run. You’re actually less likely to get shit done. Your motivation dives, your creativity is shot, and your brain is just about fried.

You can only focus for so long before your brain needs a break. Trying to power through won’t work mainly because you’ll be mentally driving on an empty tank.

When you give yourself a real break, some time away from all the nonsense, you’re allowing your mind to relax, decompress and reenergize. This kind of mental downtime is what will allow you to get in the zone again for the rest of the afternoon.

2) You’re Physically Healthier 

Being chained to your desk isn’t conducive to good health either. Your body isn’t meant to be static for so long. It’s why your muscles and joints protest after a day at your desk. And of course, there’s dead butt syndrome too.

But muscle pains are only the tip of the iceberg.

Eating lunch at your desk means you’re sitting for even longer. Being this inactive is one of the worst things you can do for your health since you’re at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and other serious problems.

Plus, weight gain is pretty much a given. You’re burning fewer calories while you’re still at your desk and eating while you’re distracted can lead to overeating.

This study from the University of Surrey in the UK shows the impact of mindless eating, both during lunch and the following hours. It’s simple math. Eating more while sitting on your ass is a recipe for gaining weight.

And that extra weight makes you more at risk of health problems. It’s a vicious cycle but you can help break it by taking a real lunch break. 

3) You Can Digest Your Food Properly

Working at your desk is stressful and that’s bad news for your digestion. You need to be in a “rest and digest” state so the parasympathetic nervous system can kick in and help your mind and body recover for a bit.

However, this won’t happen when you’re under stress and it’s a trigger for bloating, indigestion and other digestive issues. If you’re always complaining of stomach issues after lunch, eating at your desk may be a big factor.

You’ll also end up falling into the trap of eating unhealthy shitty food as a stress-reliever - like those stale office donuts from the morning. And, this wrecks your digestive system and overall health.

When you physically leave your desk, you’re not only mentally triggering a temporary disconnect from work, but also helping your mind relax which also allows your digestive system to work with less stress.

4) You Stay Sane

If you don’t protect your energy and set boundaries, it’s a fast track to burnout. You can’t be on top form and you won’t do your best work. There’s no reprieve from work stress.

Getting away from your desk is crucial from a mental health perspective. You need that opportunity to clear and reset your mind. Lunch isn’t just about food. It’s a golden opportunity to depressurize yourself and keep your shit together.

This is why you shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving your desk. A lunch break isn’t a luxury - it’s a necessity so you can be on top form.

Make your lunch hour a sacred time for you. Your mind and body will thank you for it. 

The Benefits Of Meditating After Eating

There’s lots of advice out there that says you should only meditate before eating but frankly, that’s bullshit.

You can meditate anytime, anywhere you like. Do what works best for you.

Meditating after eating is only a problem if you’ve eaten the wrong stuff and/or overeaten.

However, when it’s done right, you can create a double-whammy of benefits.

1) You Feel Happier 

Meditating after eating can be super grounding. Your blood sugar levels are more balanced and your serotonin levels are up. When these are balanced, life is good. But when they’re too low, your mood suffers.

Eating a healthy lunch strikes the right balance, which means you’re happier and able to focus on your meditation.

Eating well improves your mood tremendously.

2) You’re Not Hangry

Nothing is less conducive to meditation than being hangry. You’re cranky, irritable and impatient. These behaviors are counter to meditation and will only make it harder and less enjoyable.

Trying to focus on your breath is impossible when your body is craving big grub. Your rumbling stomach will call the shots and ruin any chance of a peaceful and relaxed meditation session.

Eating before you meditate prevents this. You feel satisfied. You’re nicely balanced and you can fully focus on your meditation session without your stomach barking at you.

3) You’re More Focused

After meditating, you’re focused and in the zone. The more you practice meditation, the better you’ll get at slowing down your thoughts. Being focused and “in the zone” is a lot easier when there aren’t a million thoughts vying for attention in your brain.

Meditation also trains you to bring your attention back to your breath every time it wanders. You become a pro at quickly getting your focus back after switching tasks or taking a break.

The science backs it up. This study in The Journal of Neuroscience shows how meditation can hone focus and attention.

What To Eat Before Meditating

Loading up on the wrong foods makes it super hard to get the most from a meditation session. Be smart about what you eat and how much so you can kick ass all afternoon.

What you put into your body during lunch has a huge impact on how you feel and how you’ll perform for the rest of the afternoon.

Garbage food in means garbage productivity out.

And the opposite is true. When you eat healthily, your body and mind function better. Period.

Try these tips to reap the rewards of post-lunch meditations. 

1) Eat Light Healthy Meals 

Light food that is easy to digest is your best bet. Go for filling and nutritious foods. Think
whole grains, fruits and vegetables that have a ton of nutrients. These kinds of foods won’t spike your blood sugar or put you in a deep food coma and make you fall asleep at your desk.

Just stay away from processed foods, especially refined carbs. These are definitely not your friends if you’re going to meditate. They’re high GI foods and a surefire way to cause a blood sugar spike followed by a crash.

You’ll likely feel too drowsy afterward to get the most from your meditation. And you can forget about powering through your to-do list after lunch. That’s going to be a nonstarter after a carb-heavy lunch.

Anything heavy, deep-fried, or spicy isn’t going to help you either.

Keep it light and healthy.

2) Minimize Sugar

Sugar is another no-go, especially fizzy soft drinks and candy bars disguised as energy bars. These things will give you a temporary energy rush but it’s guaranteed to bring on a mid-afternoon crash too.

You might feel alert to start with but it won’t last. Within a couple of hours, your glucose levels drop and concentration is an uphill battle because your body lacks a consistent level of energy.

Here’s a quick 1.5 minute clip that provides a simple run-down of what too much sugar does to your brain and body.

VIDEO: Eating too much sugar
YOUTUBE: Tech Insider
LENGTH: 1:30
Summary points:
  • Eating too much sugar leads to all sorts of metabolic problems
  • Excess sugar consumption leads to hypertension, diabetes and heart disease
  • Cut back on excess sugars when and where you can
There’s another problem too.

Sugar directly impacts the brain. When you eat sugar, free radicals start to form. This makes it harder for the nerve cells to talk to each other and is a major culprit for brain fog.

But you have to be realistic. You can’t cut sugar out entirely because it’s in pretty much everything you eat. The key tactic here is to avoid the big contributors like sugary drinks, desserts and snacks.

3) Don’t Overeat

It’s not just what you eat. Even light food can make it hard to meditate properly if you’ve stuffed yourself to the brim with it. Breathing from your diaphragm is also more uncomfortable on a full stomach so you’ll find it harder to focus on your breath.

If your lunch has been well-balanced and your blood sugar is stable, the serotonin boost helps you feel grounded and relaxed.

But if you’ve overindulged, you’ll likely feel drowsy and find it hard to focus on meditation - not to mention that the rest of the afternoon will be an uphill battle too. And if you went over-the-top with the carbs, you’re onto an even bigger battle.

To avoid this, eat until you’re no longer hungry instead of stuffing yourself and busting your waistband.

If the lunch portion is big, split it with your work BFF or save the other half for dinner or lunch tomorrow. You’ll be saving money either way.

The Best Way To Meditate After Eating Lunch

So you’ve had a healthy lunch and you’re ready to meditate. What’s the best way to go about it?

A post-lunch meditation isn’t too different from any other type of meditation but with a few tweaks to make it more effective. The aim here is to calm the mind a bit then get it into a happy state for the rest of the afternoon.

If you’re new to meditation or just starting out, check out this ultimate newbie’s guide to meditating at work for more in-depth details.

In the meantime, here are the main pointers.

Step #1: Find A Quiet Place

The key to a good meditation session is a quiet place. And, this can be a tough thing to find in today’s bustling world.

Try eating lunch a bit earlier, like around 11 am or 11:30 am, before the crowds and get back to the office when everyone else is still out. This way, you’ll up the odds of finding a quiet spot to chill.

Find an empty conference room that is rarely used. Every company has that one meeting room that nobody uses because it’s too far, doesn’t have a projector or speakerphone etc. Those are the best. And if you can, book it for 30 minutes.

Another option is to find a spot outside nearby that is reasonably quiet. This could be a desolate corner of the campus or an area around the corner or down the block from the office. A nearby park is perfect for this.

Whatever you do, don’t go back to your desk. Otherwise, you may fall down the rabbit hole of the internet or get interrupted by a pop-in visitor making a request.

If all else fails, head to your car. Be careful with this option though because it’s easy to end up taking a nap during lunch which isn’t a bad thing either but isn’t the goal here.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter where you meditate, just as long as it’s quiet and peaceful. 

Step #2: Focus On Your Breathing 

This is going to be really hard to do when you’re first starting out because your mind will be jammed with all sorts of stuff from work and personal life.

It’s next to impossible to not think of anything. You’re not a monk. You’re a paycheck-earning corporate worker that’s got a million things to worry about.

The goal here is to allow your mind to let the bullshit go for just a few minutes. If there are thoughts that pop in your head, spot it like you're targeting it with binoculars and say to yourself, “I see that thought and I’ll get it to later” and let it fade away.

Then, redirect your mind’s focus on your breath. Slow deep breaths are the goal, preferably from your diaphragm.

Let those random thoughts come and go. You can’t stop them entirely but that’s not what you’re trying to do here. Your aim is to clear your mind of the bullshit thoughts that spring out of nowhere and hammer away at your brain. 

Step #3: Mentally Visualize Feeling Nourished

This might seem like a strange one but hear us out.

That great healthy meal you just had?

Imagine the nutrients from your healthy lunch being absorbed and put to good use by your body. Imagine the nutrients replenishing all of the exhausted cells in your body and brain. You’re rebuilding and re-energizing yourself.

It’ll make you feel fantastic about the healthy lunch you’ve just eaten and you’ll feel grateful that you could nourish your body in this way.

Gratitude has some impressive benefits and it literally changes your brain. In fact, practicing gratitude makes office life easier and less stressful - believe it.

You feel happier. You’re less hung up on negative emotions. And as this study suggests, gratitude can help improve your mental health even if you’re in therapy.

Step #4: Celebrate Wins From This Morning

Now you’re feeling warm and fuzzy, bring out the big guns to keep the positive vibes strong. You want to end this with a positive push so that you’ll be ready to take on the rest of the afternoon.

Even on days when you’re stressed AF, you still got shit done, right? All those fires you put out deserve some self-praise and celebration.

Celebrating your small victories is a proven way to stay motivated, keep your momentum going and improve your mood.

Small wins don’t have to be earth-shattering. Anything counts, however small. The more you notch up, the more powerful the effects.

Try it now.

Spend a few moments re-living the small wins you racked up this morning before lunch. This could be finishing the edits on the Powerpoint deck, finding and correcting the excel formula mistake, completing the weekly report, whatever.

It doesn’t matter how small it was. Give yourself a mental high-five for it! You deserve some fucking recognition for your work!

When you replay the small highlights from your morning, you’re giving yourself a boost by being your own best cheerleader. Do this and you’ll not only start the afternoon strong, but also finish out the day on a high note.

Meditate After Lunch For Afternoon Success

After another crazy morning, you’re about to wolf down lunch at your desk. Deep down, you know it’s doing you no favors but what else can you do when you’re under pressure from multiple bosses and have a ton of shit to get done?

No matter how guilty it makes you feel, you need to get away from your desk. So unlike before, you stick to your guns and take a real lunch break.

Your lunch hour is a perfect opportunity to leave the bullshit behind and recharge. You need it for your sanity and wellbeing.

When you combine a healthy lunch with some simple positivity-boosting meditation, you’re giving yourself a double dose of goodness.

You’ll set yourself up for a kick-ass afternoon because you’ve not only replenished your body, but you’ve also reset your mind.

And it’s this result that is the difference between slugging through the rest of the day or slaying it.

Feel Better,

more on cubicle life