Growing up, many of us were no strangers to eating in front of the TV. Holidays might have meant gathering at the dining table, but on a regular day? The TV trays were up, and the screen time continued through the meal. Screen lunches were common.
Fast forward to adulthood, and the scenario has only escalated. With laptops, tablets, and smartphones at our fingertips, screen lunches have become a regular part of our lives. But what if I told you that this habit harms your satisfaction with your meal and affects your productivity and health?
The Effects of Screen Lunches
- Less Satisfaction: Eating while distracted means we don't fully taste or appreciate our food. It doesn't get imprinted on our brain that we've eaten. The result? More afternoon snacking and less enjoyment.
- Eye Strain: Constant screen time affects our eyes. Most humans blink about 20 times per minute, but when we're concentrating on a computer, it can drop to 14 times per minute. We also don't do a full blink where the edge of the upper eyelid contacts the lower lid. This can lead to blurred vision, dry eyes, and headaches. A helpful tip: the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, look 20 feet out for 20 seconds.
- Screen-apnea: Sounds strange, right? But focusing on screens can lead to shallow breathing or even breath-holding. Pay attention next time you're working. Are you breathing shallowly or holding your breath? I know I do this when I'm not focusing on breathing. This affects our diaphragm moving up and down, which affects our digestion. You also create tension that can give you head, shoulder, and neck aches. You can return to a regular breathing rate by leaving your screen at lunch.
- Low Energy and Focus: We aren't robots. We need breaks to recharge mentally, foster creativity, and stay productive.
- Unhappiness: A connection exists between screen usage during breaks and unhappiness. It's time to invest in true restorative time.
Your Guide to a Screen-Free Lunch
Changing lifelong habits can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Here's how to start:
- Begin with one day per week, aiming to eat screen-free most days.
- If every meal is screen-bound for you, start with just one meal a day, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Start your meal screen-free for at least ten minutes. Every bit counts!
And what about those lunch meetings? Video lunches can feel strange and look impolite. If you must eat, turn off your camera and face your food.
Setting Up Screen-Free Guardrails
We must embrace screen-free lunches as essential for our well-being. They help us:
- Take a break to move our bodies.
- Focus in the afternoon and solve problems creatively.
- Breathe better, reset our eyes, and recharge our mental batteries.
So grab that calendar and block your screen-free lunches. It's time to nourish your body and mind and foster a healthier relationship with technology.
Screen lunches might have been part of our past, but they don't have to define our future. Join the movement for a more balanced, happy, and productive life. It all starts with turning away from that screen and savoring your meal. And who knows? You might find your afternoons more energetic, focused, and creative.