“Lunch?” The most frequent question appearing in group chats or messengers at work when 12pm approaches.

Some people feel the stress of feeling obliged to join, or of turning it down (maybe too many times), or of not receiving the invitation at all.

It seems that the lunch culture in Singapore is closely tied to bonding when colleagues rant about work, discuss about their own lives or others. Having a lunch clique seems almost natural in any workplace settings and if you don’t have one, the “anti-social” label would seem to be loudly pasted on your back.

Instead of an hour of me-time and getting away from work halfway through the work day, some people find that the lunch culture adds on to their stress- either from the negativity of having to listen to the rants of others about work or fear of being excluded from lunch cliques.

I have clients sharing how their list of anxieties grow especially during lunchtime for the first few days at a new workplace; who they would lunch with or how they would be seen if they were to lunch alone. I have also heard of how bosses encourage colleagues to lunch together.

During the circuit-breaker and extended work-from-home arrangement, there were many who heaved a sigh of relief that they do not have to deal with this lunch culture for the time being. With more people returning to office, these folks wonder if they would need to deal with the cycle of pressure during lunchtime again.

Whether you are someone who appreciates lunch cliques, feels lost when your clique is not around, or worries about having one or not, know that this 60-minutes have very different meaning and purpose for everyone, and these change every day. Also, the lunch break is for your health- mental and physical. There’s nothing “anti-social” or weird about making active choices to fulfil the mental and physical aspects of your health.

email us at help@oneemptychair.com.sg or read https://oneemptychair.com.sg/articles-2/having-worries-that-are-keeping-you-up-at-night/

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