Go ahead, give yourself a “time-out”!

Go ahead, give yourself a “time-out”!

By Published On: November 13th, 2020

This week marked the sixth year since my Dad died. I honoured his memory by taking a day off work – a “time-out” – to go hiking in the forest with my friends and my dog Cooper.  

My Dad’s love of play, nature and being outdoors is a legacy he left in many people’s lives.

Like my Dad, I genuinely enjoy using play as a way to hang out with my friends at a distance, of course.

Unfortunately, people have recently been discouraged that gyms have been closed due to COVID.

They’ve forgotten that the outdoors is often the best gym. 

People are lost. They need to be reminded of how to play.

Most of the population views exercise as a tremendous effort, the most loathsome of tasks. It’s the first thing to get moved to the bottom of the “to-do” list. 

Want proof? There are 1.4 billion people on this planet that do NOT do enough physical activity (22 minutes a day) to keep healthy*. 

And it’s showing up in the way people manage this pandemic – both mentally and physically.

An article I read this week summed it up nicely: “fitness culture can feel overwhelming for those who aren’t used to it, and too much can perpetuate cycles of shame and guilt. It can make us believe that reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is only available to the dedicated ones who consistently lift weights and are making enough time for daily runs.”**

With so many people working from home, the best way to keep in shape during a pandemic is easier than you think.

It is possible to keep fit without gyms, and it’s time people started to shift their mindset around exercise because COVID isn’t going anywhere for a while (yay to the vaccine announcement though this week!)

The most significant task is figuring out what type of movement you can do every day outside of the gym without even thinking about it as exercise. 

For example, standing, walking, squatting in and out of your chair, carrying groceries and playing with your grandkids.

In my coaching practice, as well as in my book The Play Book: How To Get In The Habit Of Good Health, I guide people through the process of determining what kinds of activities they like. 

Then I encourage them to start thinking about combining the activities with the time you have to enjoy them.

When people can’t find the time in their busy lives to increase their movement, I suggest they go ahead and give themselves “time-out.”

It’s a way to understand the different tasks that take up our time and see if there are places to carve out minutes to move a little more. (Fun fact, scheduling less time to complete your play task forces your brain to focus.)

You can download your own “time-out” sheet here for free.

After recording what you did with your time over an entire day and night, look at the data. 

How much time did you spend eating, in meetings, surfing the internet, scrolling through social media, working at your desk, etc.? 

Where could you find windows to play

Here’s another way to think about it: Players typically get four time-outs during a football game. What if you treated your day like a game where you give yourself four play breaks? 

Like any good coach, you want to make sure you use those time-outs to regroup, strategize, and execute your game plan. The best coaches in the world use all of their time-outs. Use 2, 3, 4 — as many as you want to meet your activity goals.

“It’s not how many hours of sitting that is bad for you; it’s how often you interrupt sitting that is good for you!”***

And what would be the typical starting/ minimum amount of time you can spend building a play habit?

What is realistic and most manageable for you?

All movement matters.  

The hours spent sitting can, unfortunately, undo even a bit of exercise. Interestingly, “Canadian researchers examining the lifestyle habits of 17,000 men and women reported it starkly; The more you sit each day, the more likely you are to die an early death no matter how fit you are. That’s sobering.”****

Having routines/systems can supercharge your day while simultaneously creating a sense of calm and sanity in your life. You deserve to feel in control of your health today and every day.

Consistency is crucial, and so is fun!

Don’t forget to give yourself a much deserved “time-out”.  

Play on!

Coach Jan xo


P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:


In case you didn’t know, you can text me directly at 416-951-8568 with any questions you have about your health and wellness habits. I’ll respond to you personally, and if your question can serve others, I’ll showcase it in an episode on my YouTube channel.  


If you’re sick and tired of not being consistent with your health and wellness objectives and you’re ready to learn sustainable habits when it comes to exercise, nutrition and managing stress AND you’re willing and able to invest now to see BIG results in the next few months, then Book a Discovery call here so we can see if you’re a good fit for coaching, and daily support. 


In the 7 Days of Healthy Habits course, you can learn how to build fun, sustainable, yet simple habits in just one week, no matter how busy or stressed you are, by Clicking Here




*** Vernikos, Joan. Sitting Kills, Moving Heals California: Quill Driver Books, 2011

**** Sims, Stacy T.  Roar New York: Rodale Books, 2016 pg.54 

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About the Author: Janet Omstead

To re-ignite people’s passion for play (movement) to fight chronic disease while improving their quality of life as they age.

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