With the exception of a couple of holiday parties and a football game, our calendar has been void of activity for the past two weeks. We’ve slept in, gone for walks, seen a movie, made some nice meals and caught up on odds and ends. Whether you refer to it as down time, chilling out, R&R or simply recess, this lack of activity holds a lot of promise as a way to recharge. Want to amp it up even further? Go offline.
The American Association of Pediatrics has delved deeply into this topic as they examined the value of recess as a physical outlet for children. What they discovered however, is that the benefits extend far beyond the physical into the realms of social, emotional and cognitive development. The concept of unstructured play enables kids to come back to the classroom more ready and able to learn.
I’d like to argue the same as I move into the new year. This down time with my family is going to allow me to return to my office in a better state, more able to tackle the challenges ahead of me. And, I think it’s an appropriate practice to consider on a daily basis. As we sit in hours of meetings, we actually lose our ability to process information. It’s not enough to just change topics. Rather, we have to take a break.
According to Dr. James Levine, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, “the work should break up the break”. So schedule it in; a walk, reading a chapter of a book in another room, a phone call with a friend or a healthy snack.
As I contemplate what to do with mountains of radishes in our fridge, chilling out appears to be the appropriate response once again. This very simple ice box pickling uses a lot of vegetables fast and produces a beautiful and delicious snack that can be enjoyed when taking a break. They make for terrific host and hostess gifts as well.
- 2 bundles of radishes, thinly sliced
- 3 – 4 carrots, thinly sliced
- 3 jalapeños, thinly sliced
- handful of cilantro, minced
- 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- kosher or sea salt
In a small saucepan, heat the two vinegars, sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Simmer until the salt and sugar has dissolved. Allow this to cool to room temperature. Prep the vegetables. This is a terrific use for a mandolin if you have one available.
Mix together the sliced vegetables and cilantro. Place into pint sized glass jars. Pour vinegar mixture into each up to the rim.
Put the lids on the jar and store in the fridgerator. Enjoy within two weeks.
Have you built appropriate restful breaks into your schedule?