View this post on Instagram
I just got up from one.
It’s a Wednesday evening, and I have spent the better half of the day trying to study for a course that I’m taking online at the moment.
Exhausted from a busy period, I was trying to fight it by sipping on cold water (this trick normally works even during the hottest days of summer). Until it was time to take my dog out and give him a bath. And as he always does after a shower, he curled up next to me, and we both fell asleep.
We live in a culture where even self-care or wellness have become just another form of performing our lives. We obsess over measuring our steps and heart rate, and we even monitor our sleep. Our small, idle moments are often filled with screen time—anything from sitting in the traffic to the bathroom, phones follow us.
A yogic approach (detachment from what causes us suffering) is in this case leaving the phone behind for a few hours a day as I walk and play outside with my dog. This is a wonderful time, but a luxury many can’t afford with their busy schedules.
When we were still living in caves, humans used to split their day in two. Going home to sleep for a few hours after morning hunting or gathering of food. And then returning to spend time with friends in the evening. In some cultures, this daily break has remained in the form of a siesta. I was talking to my friend today who runs a café. He and his husband always arrive at 3 a.m. to bake and prepare for the day ahead, without taking any kind of break, pulling through, and dreaming about this two-hour “siesta” during the afternoons. But they quickly put it aside as an impossible idea in our nonstop culture.
During university, I had a friend who invited me to her PhD office, and in it, she had a sofa to take sufficient breaks to refresh the brain. Impressed and amused, I knew she was onto something. When some years ago I was living and working in Sweden, the daytime nap concept was once more introduced to me. Only having seen this since, at hospitals where overworked nurses could take a little rest, it was refreshing to be reintroduced to the daytime nap room at a regular office setting.
So if there is anything we have gained from working from home is the benefit of privacy. Even if you are a business owner, there is nothing shameful about taking a break to sleep during the day when you need it.
The health benefits are immense—reduced blood pressure, improved memory, and better mood to name a few. Every employer should add this investment item to their productivity list.
Rest is the most lacking aspect in many of our busy lives. Even exercise is not going to help if we are sleep-deprived. Rest first and let the rest follow!