What is it about sitting at a desk that makes one want to stand up and walk away from it? True story: I’ve had to get up like four times since sitting down to write this piece. And it’s not because I don’t want to write it; I do! But it’s because it’s hard to concentrate sometimes, no matter how interested you are in the thing you're trying to concentrate on. And, because I’ve already done a fair amount of work today, I’m kinda ready for a break, as are most adults after they’ve put in a few hours (or a few minutes, whatever, I don't know your life) into their jobs.
Something that’s equal parts challenging and awesome about adulthood is that, most of the time, we don’t have someone else telling us when and where to be somewhere. We don’t have one of those classic round analog clocks with a red second-hand ticking on the wall that we can watch, telling us when we can go outside to swing and play kickball. But it would be kinda nice, in my opinion, if we had scheduled windows of time during our work day where we were required to go outside and blow off some steam. If it sounds a little like I'm advocating for the introduction of recess into the grown-up workday, it's because I am absolutely suggesting that. Exactly that. Here's a few reasons why this should be a thing:
Because Science Says That Breaks Are Good For Your Brain
In the immortal words of Levar Burton, host of PBS masterpiece, Reading Rainbow, “You don’t have to take my word for it.” It's fairly well-known that taking work breaks is crucial for working adults. Basically, they make us work better, more efficiently, and are straight-up devoid of a downside. Enjoyable! What more evidence do you need?
When Else During The Day Would We Get To Lie Around And Read A Magazine?
I mean, we are grown-ups with grown-up things to do. There's a reason beer companies and resorts advertise with images of horizontal people laying in the sunshine. I mean, my magazines aren’t going to read themselves, and we all know how likely it is* that we’ll find more free time at the end of the day. No. The end of the day is not for recreation; it's for eating. Or sleeping. Or maybe something else you could do in a bed. But mostly eating and sleeping. Our recreational pursuits deserve a little bit of time during a part of the day when our brains aren't fully worn out.
*not at all likely
Or Sit On A Bench And Play On Our Phone?
It’s not my fault that all these new levels in my favorite mobile puzzle games keep appearing.
Perhaps You've Heard That Walking Is Good For You?
I'm afraid to wear a pedometer, because I know my steps wouldn't come close to the daily recommendation of steps per day. However, if I had recess built into my work day? That would change things a little bit. True story: I used to work at a place where walking meetings were a thing, which sounds great except that sometimes other people failed to tell you ahead of time, and then you'd be in heels and it would be horrible. I feel like if we had recess, this kind of nonsense wouldn't happen.
Dining Al Fresco Is Superior To A Granola Bar At Your Desk
I'm all for lunch breaks. They are, in fact, a not-so-distant relative of recess breaks. However, all too often, lunch breaks turn into quick, processed snacks at our desks. But if our organizations required us to take recess? All of a sudden every day could involve happy hour outside. Boom.
Recess Would Offer A Highly Beneficial Chance To Clear Your Head
I suppose you could try meditating at your desk, but that runs the risk of weird looks from your co-workers, so I don’t blame anyone for skipping that idea. Also, that just comes too dangerously close to actually napping at your desk.
You'd Be Able To Check In With Your Family For Longer Than A Minute Or Two At A Time
Sure, the modern marvels of technology make it easy to stay in touch with family during a work day, but those brief texts or quick phone calls are only the tip of the iceberg. Recess would actually allow me to watch the 80 or so saved videos of my son that I have on my phone, or even FaceTime him.
People Need Daylight, And Not Everyone Gets A Window
Regardless of the opinion you may have on daylight savings time ("It's sucks and is dumb!" "It's the best because sunlight!" — thanks for the valuable input, everyone on my Facebook news feed), it's understood that sunlight and the vitamin D it provides is good for humans, so there's another point for recess.