Why can’t I just sit down and release? Why can’t I take a nap without a million things on my mind? Why do I feel the need to fill empty space with something meaningful? Why can’t I just be?
These were the thoughts running through my head as I forced myself into the shower in preparation for a nap. I had just come home from work, began preparing for the gym and a sensation of sleepiness came out of left field. I told my hubby I wouldn’t make our workout session and my body being tired. “I’m gonna take a nap because I’m gonna have a long night!”
He then walked with into our bedroom with our daughter in his arms. He smiled and said “ Take a nap," and kissed me softly on my forehead. Now this may sound like one of those cute scenes in a romantic movie, but trust me, it was not that. That was not romantic at all. That kiss was not to signify acknowledgement of my body being tired. It was not permission to rest my body. It was not sympathy.
I knew what he meant and because he knew me so well, he commanded that I nap. Not in a negative way, but in a positive way. See he understood that sometimes his wife sometimes need strong external stimuli to wake up her inner drive. He knew I would understand the command was out of concern and seeing that he now needed to step in.
He knew once they both left the house instead of napping I would find a way to occupy my time and not rest.
He was right. The second that door closed I began thinking of ways to catch up on work, prepare for the next day, post on my social media, the list goes on. I felt like I should utilize this time and get so much done. The thought of not doing anything made me feel like I was a bad person. Almost like I wasn’t good enough. My low productivity meant nothing positive for me which in turn that I had nothing positive to say about myself. I began engaging in all or nothing thinking (a cognitive distortion that encourages negative thinking patters) which did not serve me. I immediately caught myself and thought "What the hell is wrong with you!"
Where does this guilt and shame come from I asked.
I have always been taught to work hard from a young age. I was always taught to be better then the next. Society teaches us that we work hard sleep never. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Real business owners work until they can’t work anymore. If these are the keys to happiness then why are so many American so unhappy? Why do we have so many stress related diseases?
We should take a page out of the book of other counties across seas where people are happier and we should imitate them. The sense of pushing yourself until you can’t push anymore only pushes us into hurt and pain. I’m not saying we can’t work hard, but why can’t we work hard at taking care of ourselves and enjoying life too? Why can’t we just relax and not think about relaxing?
Try it right now. Place your feet flat on the floor, hands on your lap, palms up and take in a deep breathe through your nose exhaling with sound out of your mouth.
Try it 3x .
Go for it.
In through your nose.
Out through your mouth (make sound "AAAAA" when breathing out)
Loosen your shoulders
Unclench your jaw
I’ll wait...... Feel better? I knew it!
Find a way to incorporate that into your everyday. Increase the flow of serotonin in the brain. Don't complicate and Don’t over think it.
Music is a great therapeutic tool to add during the day to support the increase of serotonin levels. Take a listen to "Just Be," by DJ Khaled. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWADyn6yPCI