Why You Should Take Your Lunch Outside

by Hannah Lank

I’m writing this from New York City, where taking lunch outside is practically a prerequisite of living in the city for the summer. (If you don’t picnic in Central Park, did you really even go to New York?!)  Wherever you find yourself, get out and eat your lunch outside. Munch on your sandwich, salad or other lunch item and see if the wind in your hair, the light touch of the sun on the back of your neck and the chirping of happy birds doesn’t improve your day.  I have reasons for saying this, but honestly don’t take my word for it—try it!


What’s that smell

Your workplace, house or classroom probably smells bad at lunch, namely it smells like everyone else’s lunch and not in a pleasant way. For example, I recently went into an elementary school and was immediately struck by an overwhelmingly olfactory experience. Currently, I intern in a one-room, carpeted office and the olfactory environment is very much the same as that elementary school.  To maintain the integrity of your own nasal receptors, get outside. Remind yourself that the world doesn’t smell like your co-worker’s week-old, garbage-bound banana peels. In fact, sometimes the outside world can smell pretty darn good.


Another hundred people

If you’ve never just watched people go by—alone or in company—you’re seriously missing out.  Get out for your lunch break, find yourself a comfortable vantage point, in a park or other public area, and observe the many unique characters that populate this earth.  You’ll be surprised by what you see—both good and bad, but nonetheless interesting. It’s up to whether you talk to the strangers you spot.    


Remember to breathe

Shocker: air and sun are good for you; recycled air and no sun aren’t.  It’s basic science.  Of course, please wear sunscreen and seek shade as necessary, but just stretching your legs, breathing in some real O2 and seeing the sky is beneficial for both your body and mind.  I almost always feel better after a dose of fresh air. They say a change is as good as a rest. (By “they” I mean my mom, but she is usually right about these things.) So pre-order your lunch and change up your surroundings—even for just half an hour—and see how you feel.