We live in a world that never goes to sleep. The advent of the internet and other amazing technology has opened Pandora’s Box and now we have the ability to be connected at all times. We tweet, we blog, we watch news and entertainment media on our televisions, iPads, iPhones, Blackberries, or other devices, and we can instantly communicate with each other 24/7. We are busy, and granted, we essentially need to be. We work, we parent, we are in relationships, and we try to be good neighbors. On top of that, we invest our time, our talent and/or our dollars in our communities, politics, and philanthropic endeavors that move us. We care about our world. We want to make it better.
But do we realize that all this activity takes its toll on us? Do we give ourselves a little of our own attention? We should, because we’d be healthier if we took a break now and then. Turn off your gadgets, put your sweet head on a pillow, and take a nap. Studies show that when individuals take a half-hour nap each day, they are generally healthier. They have less stress, lower blood pressure, and are at a decreased risk for heart disease. One very important note about heart disease: It is the leading killer of women. So, this is at least one good reason why women should be scheduling those naps regularly. “Oh, sure”, you say. “With my busy schedule, between car pool, my hectic work schedule, trying to sneak in a dinner out with my husband, and checking the kids’ homework, when was I supposed to get that nap in?”
Okay, perhaps not everyone can spare a half-hour every day for some ‘shut-eye.’ But if you meditate, practice yoga, exercise, or hopefully some combination of the three, you are already moving in the right direction to focusing on a healthier lifestyle, and that is a wise investment of some of your time.
We all need to balance our busy lives in the most harmonious way possible for us individually, and only you will know how to do that for you. I don’t posit that there is a one-way-works-for-all answer to the question of how to bring our lives into balance, but I do think it’s important to discover our own sense of harmony in order to do so. I am sixty now, and I have just discovered “napping” this year. I’m late, I know. Thankfully, I discovered meditation, Yoga and exercise much earlier. I also know now that my body has limitations. My energy runs out if I don’t replenish it. A short nap, which I usually start with a meditation session, rejuvenates me.
My sense is that you don’t have to wait until you’re sixty to discover this trick of finding time for yourself. I carved out time for myself to work out at the gym even when I was younger — so I know it can be done. Just take some of that time — perhaps it will only be ten or fifteen minutes, but instead of pounding away on a treadmill, or spinning, use it to rest. I promise you, it will still make you smile, and it will be dreamy.
photo credit: susivinh