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Resting doesn't only mean sleeping

Resting doesn't only mean sleeping

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Enjoying the scenery in a kayak | Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

How do you feel about midday naps?

Some people love them and never skip their powernap or that good old siesta. Other people are just put off by napping of any kind because they just can't seem to calm their mind long enough to actually fall asleep or because somehow it feels wrong or wasteful to nap in the middle of the day. 

I come from a culture where napping is second nature. No real work was done where I grew up in Suriname after 2 PM, because, well it's 40 degrees Celsius and let's face it: That's just too hot to do anything. So, the afternoons in my childhood were spent eating (we had our main meal of the day around lunchtime), resting (in the shade) and puttering around the house. I remember it to be the most creative time in my life and I would paint and craft up a storm. Things changed dramatically when I moved to the Netherlands: Classes and work from 9 AM-5 PM followed by a commute, a quick dinner, and more studying lasted from my student years well into my post-grad and first "proper" jobs. Obviously, I got to do a lot of cool stuff but I had to look long and hard for moments when I could sit still.

Today, I'd say I live in both hemispheres: I have siesta seasons and I have can't-stop-stuff-to-do-so-inspired! seasons. I used to think that I had to choose: I could be either lazy or ambitious, a hard worker or a relaxed person, I could either work hard AND play hard or just go home (and stay there). I've finally figured out that this is not a question of which one but a question of what do I need now? I've gotten pretty good at listening for signals from my body and my mind to tell me what I need. Does the idea of taking a nap make me feel anxious or does it make me feel relieved? In a nutshell, there's my answer.

For introverts, energy management is a major recurring theme. Especially when you're trying to cram so much into your day, when you want to keep growing in your work and on a personal level AND you need lots of alone time to recharge. The hardest question we deal with is:

When do I push myself and when do I take a step back?

I love the idea of using micro-breaks to start listening to those signals and to create little recharging pockets when that 3-hour siesta isn't possible (or makes you cringe). A micro-break could be anything that helps you to take a moment for yourself. Like leaving your phone in the other room while you have lunch. Take a deep breath while you wait for the shower to warm up. Get up from your chair and walk around the room when you get off that meeting or when you're done taking that call. Doodling for 2 minutes after you finish a task. Or drinking a cup of coffee while staring out of the window. In fact, I think I'm going to do that last one right now 🙂

What microbreak can you take today?

Mariella

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