Rest is Not a 4 Letter Word! Dammit!

12 Apr

A friend of mine who happens to be an excellent teacher and educator once adamantly commented to me on the evils of taking away a child’s recess in school. “Recess is not something you earn –it’s a necessity” I remember her vehemently being opposed to the idea of teachers using recess as a punishment. “if you don’t behave I will take away 5 minutes of your play time.” The concept was very simple. A child sitting in a classroom for HOURS on end, sitting in a desk, NEEDS to get out and run around. It’s crucial to brain function, concentration abilities and overall health… stretching the limbs and muscles. Something as important as that, why would a teacher think it’s ok to take that away? Well, hopefully over time our educators have learned the importance of recess and play time… but the sad thing is that I’m not so sure our adults understand this concept.

The other day my husband went to work regardless of the fact that he was completely incapacitated by his allergies. I always joke to him, “the nicer the weather, the worse you feel!” But yet, off he went to work, thinking that maybe maybe he will come home early – depending on how hes feeling at work. Well, I didn’t like that attitude to begin with, but I was ok with it – because hey – a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. So at around noon, I get an email from my darling hubby saying: he feels terrible,  nose is running, sinuses are pounding, shooting pain from his bloodshot itchy eyes while tears are running down his face and onto his desk… doesn’t this sound like a wonderfully productive day at work? So I call him up and say “come home now! Pack up your bags mister and come home!” And then comes his response that has inspired my entire blog post for today. “I cant really leave, I have a bunch of stuff I need to finish up here.. and if I leave I’m going to need to make up the hours..”

Was this for real??? Granted – I TOTALLY understand that a person has responsibilities and as much as we might want to stay in bed late, or take the day off from work, its just not always possible. However, my point is that as adults, we constantly trade in our health for our work. We take away our own recess all the time! We wouldn’t want teachers taking away our children’s recess and play time… why do we constantly do it to ourselves???

Refusing to use a sick day is one matter – but this whole scenario actually brings me to the other side of the coin. In my husbands company there was this concept (or maybe its in every company and im just naive J) But the concept is “cashing in your vacation hours” My husband did it on more than one occasion. And to save my own ass – I’ll admit, he cashed in LOTS of hours in order to get me a beautiful birthday present (hehe) … Interestingly enough, his company banned that policy earlier in the year, and now you HAVE to take your vacation days. And ya know what? I really like that. Vacation isn’t something we can CHOOSE to work through – or decide to just take the money instead. Vacation, like rest, like recess, is actually vital to productivity to begin with! Just as a kid will listen better in class after a good solid chunk of running around playing soccer, so too, my gorgeous husband will certainly be more productive after shutting OFF his blackberry and 5 laptops with 13 running programs… and simply do some meditation and relaxing in the sun (as long as the pollen count isn’t high.)

I’m afraid we’re all culprits of working through our recesses and breaks… trust me – I’m guilty of this myself… and this is why its important to realize this BEFORE we collapse from exhaustion. Before our doctors tell us our blood pressure is so high we need to take meds for the rest of our lives… and certainly certainly- we need to realize the greatness of recess before our whole lives have passed us by and all we’ve done is completed our necessary hours.

So come on people … lets take a national “shut your phone” holiday! Who’s with me ?? 🙂 🙂

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Posted by on April 12, 2010 in Mental Health, Recreational Health


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