Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Taking a break - with idle hands...

We all need to take a break from time to time, but for some that doesn't come naturally.
My friend Kay Strom has an interesting perspective on that.
Kay Strom: Work, work, and keep on working. I learned the lesson well at my mother’s knee. You know—idle hands are a devil’s workshop and all. So taking a break doesn’t come naturally to me. I iron while I watch television. I jog in place while I talk on the phone. I know… disgusting, isn’t it? Even to me!
When I lived in Southern California, I used to relax by walking on the beach under the palm trees and watching the dolphins dance. I loved it. It was an opportunity to collect my thoughts and think and pray. Well, I moved up north and there is no beach close by. Even if there were, there isn’t predictable sunshine or dolphins or palm trees.
I do get exercise, but it’s not the soul restoring kind. It’s the cross-it-off-my-list type. But last year my husband and I purchased a price-slashed-end-of-season hot tub spa, and it has revolutionized my break time. Almost every day I carve out half an hour or so—sometimes double that—to sit and luxuriate, read, consider, and discuss life with my husband. In the winter, I cradle a cup of hot cocoa or tea. In the summer I may go all out and sip on a root beer float. But the great thing is that my stress bubbles away.
Sorry, Mom. Sometimes idleness is a virtue.

I think idle time takes on a new meaning after reading that. Kay Marshall Strom is the author of 37 books, many with a global reach, and includes prize winning screenplays and curriculum. I didn't think she had idle time, but the point is well made - she makes idle time.
Which brings me to my question/thought of the day. For all those busy people out there like Kay, do you mix activity with things that should be a break, or can you just stop and take the break?
I invite you visit Kay Marshall Strom's web page at


  1. Not only to decrease stress, but to give us a new perspective on our writing. But I understand how difficult it is when you're on a roll.

  2. I so needed to read this today. I work really long hours in order to meet the demands of every day and my volunteer positions. I think I forgot to rest somewhere along the way.