As a part of their daily routine, young children have play time during the school day and are distanced from certain situations to help them settle down. Can the same benefits a child receives from recess and time out be reaped by grownups facing the challenges of daily life in the 21st century? Yes! Our ability to stay productive, and recognize our need to retreat from certain situations will improve our focus and energy while reducing anxiety.
Just because we’re a little older doesn’t mean we don’t need an outlet to reduce pressure. Play allows us to expand our imaginations. Too often we get so caught up in, “I have to get it done … I have no time…” We hold ourselves captive and in doing so lose our creative imaginations. As our obligations build, our need for an escape, even five minutes, grows.
Play Break Suggestions
- Keep your recess short—between 5-15 minutes.
- At work, schedule time to shoot the breeze with a friend you tend to talk to when you need to be working.
- Have a deck of cards, board games, crossword puzzles on hand and find someone who will play with your or play by yourself.
- Find an outside activity that you enjoy; keep a baseball glove, putter, tennis racket and ball, kite, model sports car, etc. in your car and find a good place for your recreational activity.
- Take a walk.
Time out for a child is usually a form of discipline. It was first created so that a child could retreat and regain self-control.
In sporting events, a time out is used as a way for a team to regroup. A player who is getting a little out of control may be asked to sit down to have a chance to relax and regain game focus.
In our daily lives, in business or at home, recognizing our own need for a time out can be an essential factor in maintaining composure and calm in order to deal with a difficult or unpleasant situation. You may find yourself in a meeting getting frustrated. When your frustration level gets high and your ability to keep your poise gets low, excusing yourself or suggesting a group time out, may be the best thing for you and everyone else.
Even when you are alone, and having difficulty overcoming certain obstacles, take a time out. Walk away and breathe deeply.
At home, a situation with a family member may be getting out of hand—instead of staying in the situation, take a time out and come back in a few minutes.
Time Out Suggestions
- Become more aware of when your frustration, aggravation, irritation and so on are impeding your thinking and problem solving and effecting your tone and attitude when speaking.
- Speak up and say that you need a time out.
- Physically remove yourself from the situation.
- Allow yourself to clear your head before you return.
Recess and time outs—just for kids? We can all benefit from watching children at play. Just because we are older, and we think we are wiser, it ain’t necessarily so. Returning to our youth, when we were more carefree and didn’t think about what others thought about us—we would easily run and scream at the top of our lungs with uninhibited joy. What’s wrong with bringing child back into our lives?
I’m a little tired now—I think I’ll go take a nap. Nap? Hmmm, not just for kids, either!