Jennifer Abrams -Consultancy that informs, inspires, and empowers VOICE
January 2012

Play is Good.

I had an epiphany this week. I need more recess in my life.

I really do like to travel and be on the road. Not everybody's 'thing,' but it is working for me. And travel requires discipline, organization and focus. If keep up the routines and remember the tips, I don't starve at the end of the long trip to Toronto as I have that stash of dried apricots and almonds at the ready.

I have been working hard at getting an "A" in getting to my destination. With a carry on bag, a bottle of water, and the sleeping pill to help me be ready to train at 5am my time, 8am their time, I can be ready for work.

Yet I noticed when I came home everything became a 'must.' Unpack, pay bills, do invoices, see if there was anything in the fridge and if not, go to the grocery store, do laundry, etc., And beyond the essentials, I had a list of self-care actions I also felt I should do so I could get back on the road 'healthy'...

  • Meditate – with Insight Timer App (great app!)
  • Workout
  • Use foam roller on legs, tennis balls on shoulder blades
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water
  • Read daily thought in Book of Awakening
  • Read daily poem in A Year with Rumi
  • Do the three page writing from The Artist's Way

I bet you can see where this is going...Ah, the irony. What was designed to create calm, created anxiety. I wasn't getting an 'A 'at being calm. This week, I was just plain resentful. There was no joy. Only lists.

Then someone suggested I needed recess. Not, "While you are not working, you can take time to go to the gym" recess, but absolute "What is my bliss for this set of minutes I have?" recess. Wow, for someone who works in schools, and bells ring in schools – bells telling you when to eat, when to teach, when to everything - this idea of do I want to do was just a bit fabulous.

I know I am not the only one who has spoken of this need. New teachers I talk to ask for time to just 'network' at workshops, others say they long for a bit more time to just 'be', someone wanted help avoiding burnout.

I think we need to give each other permission to play. What does play look like to you? I had to think about it for a minute...what would play look like to me?

  • Designing new outfits – maybe going into my closet or going shopping – I get an artistic thrill.
  • Seeing the sun and the birds at the Baylands near my place. Not speed walking the track, but actually sitting down on a bench and looking out. Wow.
  • Making Good Earth tea and dipping a specific cinnamon spice cookie into it. (Boy, am I a kid – think about it...milk and cookies really...)
  • Wandering the gift store at the Cantor Art Museum at Stanford or heading into University Art downtown and coming out with a bookmark, a mug, a cool pen, or nothing...

The coach inside of me is giving me permission and encouragement to play more. To trust myself that I won't go too far and play for forever (the fear is there...).

I will not make everything a 'To Do.' Play is good. Recess is also for grownups.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cool Resources

Here are a few websites that have come to my attention as I have wandered in and out of my research on various projects....

Upcoming Events

Each month I will share with you information about a few of my upcoming trainings.
If I am going to be in your area, contact me so we can say hello, hopefully in person!

February 5-6
Having Hard Conversations and Being Generationally Savvy
Pre-Conference and Featured Speaker Sessions
New Teacher Center Symposium
San Jose, CA

February 11
Having Hard Conversations
Association for the Advancement of International Education
Annual Conference
Boston, MA

February 16
What Do We Want to Be About? Re-Membering Ourselves
Barron Park Elementary Staff Development Day
Palo Alto, CA

February 18
Having Hard Conversations
iLead Program for Aspiring Principals – Arizona State University
Phoenix, AZ

February 23-24
Coaching and Having Hard Conversations for a Just Culture
Nurse Managers Sessions
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula
Monterey, CA

For additional upcoming events, please visit my Web site.

Until next time,


Feel free to forward this newsletter to friends and colleague. You may reprint this newsletter in whole or quote with attribution to Jennifer Abrams and a link to

Top of Page

In this Issue:

Past Issues:

© 2012 Jennifer Abrams | Email Jennifer | 4290 Wilkie Way #L, Palo Alto, CA 94306 |  (650) 858-0699