Don’t worry. This is a completely doable challenge.
Busy parents who have a hard time taking care of themselves, we feel your pain. Self-care is a buzzy term lately, but tends to lend itself more to bubble baths, or face masks, or yoga classes, or manicures. We say YES to all those things, but we also appreciate that time and money and energy at the end of the day (or on the weekends) are limited and precious.
But taking a physical and mental breather has been shown to benefit you. So what’s a busy parent to do?
It’s simple. Stop skipping lunch.
Laura Archer’s new book, Gone for Lunch, challenges you to take at least one lunch break per week to explore, relax, energize, and otherwise take care of your mental health away from your work space.
Archer makes it easy to work each of 52 challenges into our workday, organizing them into one of four categories: Sitting, Active, Inside, and Outside. Each of the activities is designed to build up energy to get you back into your groove for afternoon work, and tells you how many lunch breaks you’ll need to complete the task, and how much time per lunch break you should plan to dedicate. Thanks to the weekly nature of the challenges, no challenge takes more than 5 lunches, with most taking only a couple of your breaks (so there’s still ample time to run errands, or work frantically, on your lunch breaks– not that we’re advocating either, we just get that life happens.)
Each of the activities is designed to build up energy to get you back into your groove for afternoon work, and tells you how many lunch breaks you’ll need to complete the task, and how much time per lunch break you should plan to dedicate.
For our fellow data nerds, Archer has included trackers with each activity to help you keep tabs on the activities that made you feel the best and most energized while you were doing them. In the back of the book, there’s also a place to keep track of which activities you tried each week, and a graph where you can visualize how your overall energy was affected by the activities you made room for in your workday.
Our favorite activity ideas include:
learn a new language
lunch with friends
go for a wander
visit a waterway or green space
go on a date
have a power nap
We’re adding this practice to our immediate weekday rotation, because the holidays are stressful and we’re committed to balancing that out with a little self-care. Even if it’s only 30 minutes at a time.
Gone for Lunch by Laura Archer is published by Quadrille, $12.99 hardcover, available now wherever good books are sold.