Tips for the Mental Epicurean

Deadlines? Mega-projects? Too much work? How on earth can you take a break now? Actually, this is precisely what to do. Just as gourmet connoisseurs recommend cleansing your palate between courses to taste each food accurately, we mental epicureans need to clear the tang between arduous assignments. Here’s how.

ZQ Taylor
3 min readJan 5, 2021
Audi Santoso / Getty Images

Ginger cleanses the palate between bites of sushi. Fine restaurants serve lemon sorbet between courses. Sipping champagne between red and white wine tastings neutralizes the tongue. The same practicable philosophy applies to how we can improve productivity while tapping some self-care. Warning: Tide Pods do not cleanse palates.

1. Take a micro-break. When finding time for a break is all but nonexistent, do it anyway. Enter the micro-break. Studies show that a 6-minute break every 80 minutes can help the time-pressed person, while other findings reveal 20 minutes of rest following 90 minutes of focused work is the best way to remain productive. Even ophthalmologists will remind us to practice the 20–20–20 rule: every 20 minutes, focus your eyes on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

2. Meditate in motion. We cannot always take cat naps between back-to-back projects in our day, but we can take cat stretches. These joyful, whirly, twirly feline moments help us simultaneously clear the mind and engage the body. For a great way to bring yourself into the present, check out this 6-minute Qi-gong exercise (pronounced chee-gong).

3. Release the hounds. Well, just the endorphins, please. Revving your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters quickly sloughs off the adverse effects of stress to restore a sense of well-being. Cleanse your mental palate by taking a brisk walk in nature or bounding up a flight of office stairs (you can take the elevator down.) Or maybe listen to something funny — laughter releases endorphins, too!

My favorite ways to free the “chee” with a gourmet micro-break? As a busy writer and researcher, I invested in a yoga ball chair, natural lightbulbs, and good fitting ear pods. When I cannot escape for a trek around the park, I push away from my desk, bounce in my seat while doing the 20–20–20 (in 2021), and listen to good music.

Now if only there were a way to drink champagne and eat sushi while I’m at it.

Author: ZQ Taylor is a Silicon Valley technology writer by day and budding novelist by iPhone flashlight app. Her work has appeared in InFlight USA Magazine, The Daily Astorian, Park Ave Magazine, Virtual Teams (2nd edition, Lipnack/Stamps). She was the copy editor for Beech 18: A Civil & Military History (Parmerter).

ZQ has been described as a southern belle in combat boots, charming and disarming. She is always reading, always hopeful, and never bored.



ZQ Taylor

Tech writer by day, budding novelist by iPhone flashlight