By Guest Blogger Leigh Anne Hunt

“Forty four percent of adults would participate in recess, if offered at their workplace.” ~ Karla Walsh,

“Play is the highest form of research.” ~ Albert Einstein

There’s something nostalgic about the word ‘Recess’. When I hear it, my mind immediately drifts to a classroom where all the kids start to inch towards the edge of their seats as the clock’s hand seems to creep towards that magic number that will produce a shrill andglorious bell. It seemed to signal that it was okay to run around like a wild child, to clump together with a group of girls and giggle, or to follow the boys to the soccer field like the tomboy I sometimes liked to be. It was a time to march to the beat of my own drum. ‘Recess’ was an exciting time of day that set me free from the rigid schedule of schoolwork that made my brain tired and my body anxious.

In remembering this, we should quickly realize that ‘Responsible Adults’ need to enjoy a little ‘Recess’ of our own. Think about it…’Recess’ was never quite long enough (just like a day off or vacation!) but it was a consistent, dependable, small window of time to take a break, to clear and reset your mind, and to ‘get the wiggles out’ (as my teachers used to say). What person of any age doesn’t need that? In fact,we probably need the break more as adults!

Having this profound revelation inspired me to try it out myself. Some time ago, I made a point to take ‘Recess’ at least three days a week. Like everyone else I know, I keep a hectic schedule, so I planned to take three one-hour ‘Recess’ breaks per week. I began by making a list of activities (I use the word ‘activities’ loosely) that help me relax or re-energize, which included:

~ Zumba classes

~ Web surfing (specifically, performing random web searches – not work-related!)

~ Watching TV

~ Pampering (spa day, anyone?)

At first it was hard to take the time and not feel guilty. Initially, I felt a magnetic pull to make a dent in the piles of laundry or paperwork that loomed outside my mini-oasis; however, after two weeks of ‘Recess’, I found that Zumba class is actually energizing (who knew?) and it doesn’t leave me as tired or worn out as I expected! I found that I have more energy work on a project and greater focus when I’m engaged in a conversation. ‘Recess’ has proven to be productive for both my work and personal life, and for this reason, I now find it difficult to feel guilty for taking time to ‘play’.

With the intense schedule most families keep, it’s almost impossible to schedule a large block of time for yourself. My personal solution –and my challenge to you – is to take ‘Recess’. Take time for yourself in small, scheduled blocks. For me, it’s three one-hour sessions per week. For you, maybe it can be 15 to 30 minutes a day. The point is, plan time for yourself – small, dependable, regular windows of time to relax, time to recharge, time to look forward to.

Set your clock, and be ready for that piercing bell to go off and signal that it’s your time. It’s time for ‘Recess’! Are you ready? What will you do on your ‘Recess’?