Naps. I want to talk about naps, especially right now before I have one.
I am someone who rediscovered the power of a good nap right about the time I turned 40. After two decades working in corporate HR, my weekends were spent making up for all the things I couldn’t do while I was chained to a desk all week. Dry cleaning, workouts, brunches, movies, catch-up sessions with friends, snuggle time with whoever I was dating: what little time I had on my days off was divided among a million pursuits and everyone I knew. I felt badly for traveling and working long hours, so I doled away time slots like reward candy to anyone who knew me. It was my way of staying connected, of “being there” for my friends.
You can only give it away if you have it to begin with. If you are out of time and energy, you don’t have it to give away. I’ll emphasize this in bold since it’s one of the greatest lessons of my life: You cannot live your life on empty. Eventually, you have to refuel.
Hence, I take naps. I nap on weekends, on airplanes, in parks, on the couch at the doctor’s office: wherever I can find a space to knock out and recharge, I do it. I’ve been known to conk out in the steam room at the gym. I’m now a professional at cat nap catching, because it’s essential to my physical and mental well-being.
Let’s bring up the thing that no one wants to talk about: naps are selfish. You’re absolutely right, they’re as selfish as can be, and I love them for it. In a world where social media and demands for knowledge about everything about your life are at an all-time high, we feel more pressured than ever to “share” everything about ourselves, and that is a massive time and energy suck. It’s not just your kids and your family you’re giving time to now; it’s a whole sphere of virtual people who want a piece of you. Which means that now, more than ever, it’s all about the siesta.
I have little rituals for my naps at home. I set a cup of water next to the bed, I keep rose water next to the bed to refresh my face when I awake, I set an alarm on my phone for when it’s time to get up, and then I’m out. Out like a light. And I don’t feel guilty about it, because if you’ve dealt with me when I need a nap and I haven’t had one, I’m cranky and not quite that bright. You WANT me to take that nap. Come back in an hour, all will be well.
Naps. Plan on taking one soon, please. I promise you’ll be happy.