You need a break from the daily grind but find yourself stressed even on your lunch break. The culprit? Lunchroom negativity. Here are some tips I’ve tried.
Eating Lunch Elsewhere
One year I ate lunch in another room. Even though I was by myself, I still had a good lunch break because I read Guideposts and felt refreshed and inspired each day. I recommend it: a positive read and some time alone.
Ignoring the Conversation by Doing an Activity
Sometimes people are having side conversations that you’re not a part of. It’s okay to read or listen to music with headphones, especially if it’s the only place people can eat.
Redirecting the Conversation
There’s an art to this. Some people do not respond well when you say another way of looking at things because they may feel you’re invalidating their feelings. So you have to know the people well if you’re going to look at the bright side in the conversation. Sometimes people just need someone to listen and then they move on. Sometimes simply changing the subject to something neutral like plans for the weekend, good books, or recent movies works well. Anything related to the work environment tends to encourage venting. You could also share a funny video or meme, which might be a great way to release tension and redirect the conversation.
Letting it Go
Of course I think the most important step is to let it go. Sometimes people need time to vent to release tension. Sometimes people talk about others as a way to connect with a group. Try not to judge and find a lunch avenue that works for you, understanding that everyone connects with others and relieves stress in different ways and you don’t have to be a part of it if it brings you down.
All the best on your stressless lunch journey.