Many internships are Monday through Friday with hours from 8-5 with a lunch break, or something similar. Internships are a great opportunity and I am so grateful for mine, but sometimes, us college kids who are used to 50 minute lectures and walking all day are not cut out for these long hours. Sitting down almost all day makes me go stir-crazy.

This is my second summer at my internship and I have gained valuable skills and do meaningful work, but there is always only so much work for an intern. Some days, I am occupied all day. Other days, I am waiting for busy directors to get back to me before I can move forward with their project or they simply have a lull in work for me to do.

When this is the case, the day feels three times longer. How do I get through it? Food. Here are 8 tips to get you through a long work day.

1. Eat a great breakfast

work day

Photo by Amanda Shulman

If you start your day out with a satisfying meal, your day has a higher chance of being a good one. Give up an extra 15-20 minutes of sleep to make breakfast… I’m talking your favorite.

You will be at work for 8 hours, so might as well make fancy avocado toast, protein pancakes or oatmeal with all the fixings. It will set you up for a good day, as well as keep your metabolism regulated.

2. Drink your coffee on the way or once you arrive

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Photo by Gabby Phi

Instead of drinking your coffee with breakfast, make it to-go. I have found that drinking my coffee a little bit later once I get to work not only gives me something to do, but it makes the caffeine buzz last later through the day to ease the pain of the 3 pm crash.

There are certain times of the day, including right when you wake up, when your brain is naturally producing cortisol that is waking you up so you don’t need the caffeine.

3. Instead of bringing a big lunch, bring snacks

Photo by Rachel Hartman

8 am is pretty early and that means an early breakfast. Consequently, I actually get really hungry at noon. During the school year, I can’t remember a time when I ate lunch before 1:30 pm. Instead of bringing a big lunch to consume all at once during your lunch break and getting hungry again at 3 pm, bring a smaller lunch and two snacks.

Time these snacks to break up the day and give you something to look forward to. Eat one around 10:30, eat your small lunch during your lunch break and eat the next snack around 3:00. Trust me, this helps.

4. Bring mints

work day

Photo courtesy of

Similar to the snacking idea, chewing on mints gives you something to do and a way to break up your day. Eat one at the top of every hour or every time you finish a task. Additionally, peppermint helps keep the brain focused.

5. Chew gum

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Photo by Rachel Weitzman

Again, very similar to the mint idea. Changing up your gum flavor every week helps too. Also, don’t scare away your boss and a potential future job opportunity with halitosis.

6. Bring drinks

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Photo by Jessica Kelly

Having something to sip on keeps you hydrated, alert and somewhat entertained. Try to avoid drinking too much caffeine or sugar to avoid crashing and unnecessary calories.

In a weird way, the increased amount of bathroom trips you will probably take as a result also help keep you awake and out of your chair for a few minutes.

7. Have someone meet you for lunch

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Photo by Haley Close

Whether it is your mom, friend, boyfriend, long lost cousin or whoever, having someone meet you for a lunch is a great mood booster. Throughout the morning, you will have something fun to look forward to. During, you will have some much-needed non-work related social interaction while enjoying some good food.

If possible, go out to eat and try to enjoy what your area has to offer and get out of the office. If you work in a foodie city like me (Richmond, Virginia), do some research and find the hip local restaurants and embrace your local food scene.

8. Have an emergency food stash

work day

Photo courtesy of

For those days when you forget your lunch or snacks, are bored out of your mind or are weirdly ravenous, have some snacks on hand. Try to not keep it too stocked at once to avoid eating it excessively, and keep it out of sight and out of mind in a drawer so you aren’t staring at it all day.

My stash includes things like trail mix, popcorn, saltines, almonds and M&M’s.

BAM and before you know it, it’s 5 pm and you are home free. In addition to using food as a distraction, you can also use exercise. Get a yoga ball to use as a chair, walk up and down the hallway, do a workout at your desk or practice flexing your abs while sitting. Even if your coworkers see you, they’ll probably respect it.