Gonna be okay, just nap! I think that’s what Lady Gaga said, anyway.
So I read these Harvard business review articles about how napping makes you more productive, and I usually just scratch my head and say, “Yeah, I think that this dude who wrote this article took a nap and just got so excited about naps that he had to write a post about how awesome they are, lazy jerk!” Or maybe, they feel ashamed for how much they’re napping, so they need to write a big article to justify it.
But okay, I am going to jump on the nap bandwagon because naps are not only good, but NECESSARY. And instead of quoting a whole lot of studies about how naps are good for you, I think I will just stick to basic truthfulness. I’ve been napping like a fiend. There. I said it.
For some reason, last week I would come home from a meeting and drop like a stone into my bed. I would go to sleep at 5pm, wake up at 9pm, eat some dinner, and go back to sleep. All night. It was kind of nuts. But I started to feel more relaxed, and more able to deal with a lot of my work. Sure, a lot of it wasn’t getting done BECAUSE of my napping, but on the other hand, I was so relaxed that I didn’t care.
I asked my friend Sabrina about naps (because she is the queen of taking care of yourself) and she said
“It’s important to notice where your body is, and to feel the difference between what they call ease in my yoga class, and lazy.” And “You might fear the word lazy but you can actually feel the difference between the two after awhile.” And, “It’s important to honor what your body needs.”
I think the fact that naps help you be more relaxed is proof that they can increase your productivity. If you’re not jittery with coffee and looking at your fifth joke site of the day, then possibly you are calmly sorting through the things you need to get done, and then doing them.
One thing that helps me get things done is to take every Monday to post what I need to do right in front of my computer, so that I have to look at it every time I look up. I make grids under each project that say things like “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday” and then put actions I will take on that project under each day. I don’t always get it done, but it helps me keep focused better if I DO write it down this way. And then after I write it down, to take a nap, because that sorting is exhausting in itself!
When I worked at a domestic violence shelter, we would repeat as we left work, “Do your self-care tonight!”
What is self-care? It’s the radical act of taking care of yourself, even though everything around you is demanding your attention constantly.
I don’t think we celebrate enough in our culture, and give ourselves enough of a break sometimes. So when we do our work, whether we’re development or program staff, we need to step back and appreciate that we did something for the world today. Even if it seems like the work will never get done, or the problem is too huge to get solved. At least, today, we did our best.
For self care, whether it was a domestic violence survivor or a case manager, everyone had something different. Some people would eat ice cream. Some would take a walk in the dark. Some people would have a cigarette and a beer. It really depended on the person. Some people would go home and knit. Lately I think there’s been a lack of self-care around me, and it’s hard to stop for a breath when it feels like everything exciting is happening at once, but when people start telling you your update emails are making them tired, you might just want to check yourself.
So, it looks like napping is my new self-care. How do you do self care? Please leave a comment.