52 Ways to Shift Your Focus

Welcome back to the next shift in, “52 Ways to Shift Your Focus.”

Shift #6: Bring Back Recess

Yesterday, as I sat in my office with the window cracked open, I could hear kids’ voices. There was some yelling and cheering. Then I could hear an adult voice over a megaphone. I wondered if it was recess time at the nearby elementary school.

Remember recess? The concept of getting out of your classroom to run around outside for a few minutes? No, don’t go thinking about that scene from “A Christmas Story” where Flick gets his tongue stuck to the pole.  That’s a recess gone awry. Think about climbing, running, playing tag and kickball, swinging, sliding, etc. A recess that probably doesn’t end in a bandaged tongue, but in a renewed feeling of energy and clear thinking. It’s not just for kids, you know. Sure, you probably take coffee breaks/lunch breaks/bathroom breaks, but none of those has the rush of recess.

In doing a little research, I discovered that the idea of recess for grownups has had some attention in recent years as a way to stay fit. In 2010, Dr. Toni Yancey’s book, Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time, came out. The intent was to keep people in the workplace, at school, or in the community healthy with 10-minute recess breaks. In 2011, KEEN, Inc., contracted with Harris Interactive to conduct the Survey on Workplace Recess to see how American adults felt about a 10-minute recess in their workplace. Forty-four percent of those surveyed agreed that they would participate in a recess offered in their workplace.

This is a fabulous idea for getting more physical activity into what has become a largely sedentary culture. I’m also convinced that this is a great way for those of us who write to shift our focus. Better body, better mind.

So, this week’s suggestion for shifting your focus goes like this:

1. Get out of your chair.
2. Go outside.
3. Move! Play! Play with your dog, run around the block, play with the neighbor’s dog, skip through the park, ride a bike, roller blade, shoot some hoops, use the playground equipment, play badminton without the net.
4. Eat lunch AFTER recess.

Feel better? Good. That’s the idea.

For more ideas on enjoying recess, here’s a link to KEEN’s list of playful ways to get outside: http://recess.keenfootwear.com/

Skip stones, walk on the beach! Shore of Lake Superior. Photo by Kathleen Cassen Mickelson.

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2 comments

  1. Yesterday I swam. (Quite badly for a little over a kilometre).
    Today after lunch I am having an afternoon in the garden. Grubbing around, weeding and putting in bulbs for a spring riot of colour. Much work now, but when they bloom the pain will be a memory.
    Tomorrow I hope to swim and garden. And see the doctor. And get a haircut.

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