By Shelley Friend, Verlie Edwards and Leanne Ivey
According to grammerly.com:
“The Oxford (or serial) comma is the final comma in a list of things.
For example: Please bring me a pencil, eraser, and notebook.
The Oxford comma comes right after the word eraser.
Use of the Oxford comma is stylistic, meaning that some style guides demand its use while others don’t. AP Style—the style guide that newspaper reporters adhere to—does not require the use of the Oxford comma.
If we wrote the example sentence above, in AP style, it would read,
“Please bring me a pencil, eraser and notebook.”
(notice only one comma.)
We all NEED an Oxford Comma in our lives. Our bodies, minds, spirits demand the use of an Oxford Comma every day. As a world, we desperately need to learn to treat ourselves to an extra pause to take time to rest.
Rest is different from sleep. Our story by @JessicaEhrlich https://www.ironbutterfliesproject.com/healing-power-of-sleep/, persuades us to get a good night’s sleep to help with our physical and mental well-being. It’s worth rereading.
Today, however, we urge you to take it a step further. REST is equally important. Rest means taking a break, even a couple of minutes between tasks. It’s allowing yourself to focus on something else. Taking time off, even for a quick break from work, not only refreshes us, but also improves our ability to think, work, and sparks creativity. (Oxford comma intended.)
An article in inc.com maintains taking time off sparks creativity, and prevents exhaustion, and chronic health issues. It also suggests it boosts our immune systems and adds years to our life. https://www.inc.com/rhett-power/a-day-of-rest-12-scientific-reasons-it-works.html
In her book Learning How To Learn, Barbara Oakley teaches her students the value of two modes of learning. The Focus Mode is the task-oriented mode. It’s when you are working on achieving the goal and producing results. However, she compels us to understand the value of the Diffuse Mode, too. It’s important to do, or think about, or do something else. It allows our mind to relax which is imperative to disconnect. This brief break (taking a walk, taking a shower, looking out the window, being in nature, even daydreaming) can actually enhance creativity and productivity when we go back to our task. https://barbaraoakley.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/10-Top-Ideas-to-Help-Your-Learning-and-10-Pitfalls-1.pdf
An article on modelthinkers.com supports Oakley’s theory and gives an interesting analogy. They ask us to think of our thought process “as water, Focused Thinking would involve shooting a thin jet of water that was directed, powerful and aimed in a single, predictable direction. By contrast, Diffuse Thinking would be akin to a sprinkler, shooting mists of water in all directions, covering more ground in a lighter, unpredictable pattern. “ https://modelthinkers.com/mental-model/focused-and-diffuse-thinking
A recent Forbes article suggests we “practice” rest by doing four things: Practice Gratitude, Taking Deep Breaths, Cultivating Healthy Habits and Practicing Sleep Hygiene. https://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2021/01/15/the-benefits-of-resting-and-how-to-unplug-in-a-busy-world/?sh=11c2f28e2133
Gretchen Rubin argues that “Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking time to rest can refresh the mind, boost productivity and focus, and replenish mental energy.”
While many of us studied grammar when we learned how to read, few of us remember all the rules. Unless you are a journalist or author, you probably haven’t thought of commas since childhood. And, you may have never considered commas as a tool to extend or save your life.
However, based on the articles above, you can see that the Oxford Comma (or extra pause in our daily lives) is substantiated by scholars and students of human nature as a key to remaining active, productive, and creative (yes, we are using another Oxford comma!)
As Iron Butterflies, we can get caught up in the lifestyle of pushing too hard for overachieving. I would encourage you to observe the commas in life. Who knows, the more you rest your mind and body, the more you are equipped to achieve and fly forward.