The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome {CFS} I was diagnosed with in 2016 prompted an array of lifestyle changes. To aid my recovery, everything from my morning routine to the food I eat has been overhauled and transformed. One of the simplest, but most effective things I’ve done is add a proper lunch break to my working day.

‘I believe in stopping work and eating lunch.’ – L’Wren Scott

Before I became unwell, I’d fallen into the habit of working non-stop while the kids were at school. If Mr L.A. was home, he’d usually make me something for lunch, but if he wasn’t, I’d often forget to eat completely. If I stopped at all between the hours of 9am and 3pm, it would be for 20 minutes at most and I’d often spend my ‘break’ checking emails or replying to comments on social media.

The need to balance periods of rest and activity to keep my CFS symptoms in check forced me to make a change. As a result, I’ve become evangelical about lunch and the benefits of taking a break.

  • Find Your Natural Pause

I always thought working intensely without stopping, was the best way to be productive within the limited amount of time I had. Looking back, I can see I filled every dip in energy or lapse of concentration with a distraction. I may have been at my desk the entire time, but I wasn’t always focussed and functioning at 100%.

Listening to my body, noticing when I’m hungry and stepping away from work when my mind starts to wander has made me more productive overall. Instead of the dreaded mid-afternoon slump, a restorative lunch break usually leads to a more focussed afternoon.

  • Keep the Fridge Stocked

My limited energy has made batch cooking a little tricky. My body can no longer manage an entire afternoon or evening of food prep. Rather than making complete meals in advance, I now keep the kitchen stocked with simple ingredients that can be easily thrown together.

If you watch my Instagram Stories, you’ll know I tend to make myself a hearty bowl of salad, topped with all sorts of different things and packed with as much flavour as possible.

Ingredients I always like to have on hand include spinach, rocket, tomatoes, carrot and avocado, Portobello mushrooms {for baking, grilling or frying}, Cauldron falafel, hummus, Taifun smoked tofu, pasta, pulses and rice {I love these pouches by Tilda}, pesto sauce {Sacla’s Chargrilled Aubergine and Free From Basil are my favourites},vegan cheese, Quick Pickled Onions, Easy Coconut Bacon, and sriracha sauce.

I also like to have a few meals from COOK in the freezer, plenty of bread, bagels and wraps, and the odd tub of fresh soup.

  • Tune Out and Switch Off

For me, stopping for lunch isn’t just about filling my belly. It’s also an opportunity to reset, relax and unwind. I’ve found a change of scene does me good, so I never eat at my desk. During the winter, I’ve been watching TV, but as the weather warms up I’ll probably take myself outside for some fresh air. My main goal is to switch my brain off a little, so listening to podcasts and music also helps.

  • Do you take a proper lunch break, or are you permanently chained to your desk and always eating on the go?

Love Audrey xxx

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