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Change the Channel, Change Your Mood

When I first started working from home full-time in March, I developed a new routine for watching the news. I watched the news in the morning while I ate breakfast, at noon while I ate lunch, and then at and after dinner time, usually two different news broadcasts.

Watching the news at lunch time was the biggest change for me. While working in the office, I preferred to spend lunch out of the office, exploring downtown Rochester. Now, instead of enjoying the daily special and a coffee at a restaurant, I was watching the news alone, feeling stressed out. I was getting myself worked up over the same news stories I heard just hours earlier.

The Importance of Taking a Break

“Taking a break during the workday is imperative for good emotional health,” said Amanda Shanahan, RD, Employee Wellbeing Manager, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “But it’s important to break and do something you enjoy and look forward to. This will increase your focus, creativity, and productivity while also reducing stress. This leaves you refreshed to start working again.”

Calming Power of Cooking Shows

After about a month or two of what I’ll call “binge doom viewing” during lunch, I knew I needed to try something different. Still at home by myself for lunch, I looked for something less stressful to enjoy during the lunch hour. That’s when I discovered the calming power of cooking shows. I’ve found that the WXXI Create channel has some great programs on at lunch time, mostly cooking and food shows. I find myself looking forward to watching each day. For me, there’s something calming about watching someone slice vegetables and prepare food.

More Than Just Cooking

One program that really took me by surprise was To Dine For with Kate Sullivan. Not knowing what the show was about, I was expecting to learn a new recipe for potato pancakes, or perhaps a better technique for making a pie crust. To my surprise, Kate’s guest was Deepak Chopra, offering to “solve the mystery of our existence.” I learned that the show is actually about interviewing notable guests while enjoying a meal together at their favorite restaurants. So, here was a gem of enlightenment only a click away.

I still miss my lunches out exploring the city. But I have settled into this new routine and now look forward to taking a break at lunch to step away from work and check in with my new WXXI Create friends.

Has your lunchtime routine changed? Share how you relax and unwind during your break in the comments below.

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