Every day at school at 11:30 a.m., I open my lunch box to reveal the reusable plastic container that is holding my lunch. Once in a while I will “treat myself” by ordering a salad made by someone other than myself (Why do salads always taste a million times better when someone else makes it?), or by going out to grab a slice of pizza with coworkers on a Friday, but for the majority of the time, I’m eating lunch straight out of a plastic container. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Lock and Lock reusable containers, but it’s just not the same as eating off a plate, and eating like this gets me really frustrated for a couple of reasons:
First of all, when I eat my lunch at school, I inhale it in about 4 minutes because I have a ton of work that I need to get done before picking up my students and continuing the teaching day. Not only does eating extremely quickly stress me out, it also almost always leaves me with a stomachache 20 minutes later.
Secondly, when I am eating my lunch at school, half the time I don’t even pay attention to what it tastes like because I’m busy checking emails or grading papers as I’m shoving the food into my mouth. Food is a necessity for survival but also an amazing part of life thing that should be enjoyed, and unfortunately this gets completely lost when I eat at work.
To make up for this weird relationship that I have with food during the day at work, I overcompensate by providing myself with the complete opposite experience when I eat at home. I take my time cooking, plate my food beautifully, and eat it slowly while making sure to enjoy every bite. This is so important to me because I absolutely love food, and if I don’t take the time to do this for myself, I’ll always be mindlessly, quickly eating whatever it is I’m eating because I’m too busy to notice what it even is. Eating the way I do at work is 100% a habit during the school day, and it is a habit that I consciously break when I leave work. In my opinion, eating the way I do at work all the time can lead to unhealthy choices, because if you’re always looking for a quick option, it may not always be a healthy one. Also, eating quickly usually upsets my stomach, and I don’t want to have this experience with food all the time. Taking the time to cook for myself is therapeutic and also a decision to be health-conscious. It is also way less expensive than ordering or going out every night!
My favorite food-related self-care move is to cook breakfast on a Saturday morning, plate it nicely, and eat it off a tray in bed. This is absolute bliss for me as it is completely the opposite of how I usually eat my breakfast- at my computer desk in my classroom right before the students arrive!
Food is such a necessary and beautiful part of life, and I believe finding balance surrounding it is so crucial!