Monday, November 24, 2008

The breathing break


It's too bad I don't vlog, because this is what I sound like tonight--remember Marge Simpson's sisters and their smoker's raspy voices? That's me. Sneezing too. I always did like the name Selma.

Which reminds me of my greatest idea EVER. Really, that other one I had? This one is better. It is for a public health campaign that will save the office workers of the world from blindness, colon cancer, blood clots, loneliness, and probably a whole bunch of other things. It all started back when I worked at the National Cancer Institute, and there was an employee SMOKING AREA. On the side of the NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE. Seriously. I wonder if it is still there. Anyway, there I was, a young eager intern whose boss never took lunch. What was a girl to do? It was rough. I would sit at my desk for hours trying to look busy. HOURS.

Meanwhile all the smokers would just hop up every couple hours, go outside to the smoking area, and come back looking all refreshed and ready to face 90 more minutes of office work.

Except smoking is bad. There are so many reasons not to smoke it's ridiculous. But I talk about all that crap for my day job and lots of people do it better than I would so that's the end of that.

So this idea came to me. What if we all acted like smokers, except WITHOUT THE SMOKING? Seriously this is the best idea I've ever had. This is as good as I get.

What if there were signs in the ladies' and beside the elevator--take a nonsmoking break!

What if your employer made you get up every 90 minutes, go outside (vitamin D), stand around for ten minutes (good for circulation), focus on something far away (good for eye health), breathe fresh air, make small talk with the other nonsmoking breakers (social support--what could be more important)? And then what if (and I realize I'm getting greedy here) you took the STAIRS back to your desk?

It's all there. It's health promotion, community building, reclaiming something familiar (smoking break) for health. I'm pretty sure this is my last shot at saving the world and making a bajillion dollars. The only thing I'm missing is a name.

And fairly sure I will need to better than a randomly generated one.

16 comments:

Burp Rag said...

I love your idea - maybe we could blow bubbles. :P

Misty said...

i think it's an awesome idea... I know someone who pretended to smoke, just to get more break freedom. Know what happened? They became a smoker...


sad.

Kristen M. said...

OMG, you are totally stealing my idea. I wasn't going to promote the health angle though ... I was just going to complain about not getting out of work for that 30-40 minutes a day that smokers do.

The Boisterous Butterfly said...

I think it is a fantastic idea and I really mean it, because that's what people need. I think most corporations are too greedy to allow their employees this luxury however, which is a shame, because the employees would be more productive.

Jen Anderson said...

Genius! I used to have a co-worker who would take walking breaks and go up and down the stairs for a bit. And her exact rationalization was that smokers got to take breaks. and I had another who would go out with his smoking co-workers and they'd all walk around the block, some smoking, some not.

And you're right about the social support. They may complain that they have to go outside to smoke, but they're networking.

I used to work in the same building as a branch of Philip Morris. The building refused to renew their lease because they smoked in the office and in the restrooms. There were even cigarette burns on the TP dispensers where they'd put out their cigarettes. We expanded into the space after they left--the building had to replace the carpets, the ceiling tiles and quite possibly all the furniture as well.

phd in yogurtry said...

This post certifies you as qualified to subsitute for me on quite a number of my sessions. Um, can you start today?

apathy lounge said...

Well...an addiction is an addiction as far as I can tell. So what's the difference between stopping work for a cigarette and stopping for for--say--a shot of bourbon?

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

The company I work for encouraged a Starbucks to set up shop next door. Now everyone gets up 2x in the morning for a drink, and then about 10x in the afternoon because they're hopped on caffeine. In the end I think they burn off the calories, so it's a zero sum game -- except for the comraderie you mention.

Hey Starbucks! Stop closing stores; I've got an idea for you...

Lisa Milton said...

I remember working as a bartender, a world ago, and being the only one without a break because I didn't smoke.

Made me want to pretend.

Your plan is brilliant.

the end of motherhood said...

Genius. Sheer genius.

Rima said...

I think that's a smokin' idea!

Mrs. G. said...

Happy Thanksgiving Nora!

Jodi said...

...and we'd smell better when we came back from our break too.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It's genius. I just want my area to be far away from the smoking area.

markbaland said...

This should be a standard business procedure for offices, factories, stores, restaurants, etc. OSHA actually requires breaks, which many employers, especially of minorities and other low income workers, tend not to actually give. It could be up to the person whether to smoke or not, with the smokers going into a community bubble, like a big porta-potty, and then through a decontamination chamber before coming inside, so we wouldn't have to smell them and choke and have our eyes water. I have been taking breathing / walking / stretching breaks for years. If an employer only allows smoke breaks, you just say you are a smoker.

syhcool said...

Next, do the same thing for the pandora jewerly right front side of the shirt.Once you have done Pandora Bangles both front sides of the shirt, you then will need pandora bead to do the back of the shirt. Take the shirt and place the back of the discount pandora shirt so that the direct middle is on the ironing board. The pandora sale back collar of the shirt should be right up at the edge discount pandora charms of the "head" of the ironing board or even slightly hanging off. Pull the bottom buy pandora bracelets of the shirt to create that taught resistance again and pandora beads charms begin to spray the shirt and iron in the opposite direction of pandora earrings the pull.