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Nap your way to health & creativity

Let’s face it, we are insanely busy these days. It seems as if the more technology we have to make our lives easier, the less time we actually have for rest and relaxation or even vacations. (And when we do go on vacation, we often take our work with us).

We live in a culture where the myth of a superman and a superwoman is perpetuated daily and we begin to believe we can and should become these super beings.

I know. I’ve been there and still am to some extent. And I’ve paid for it with my health, my happiness, and my quality of life. It’s called burnout. And the really insane part is I’ve done it more than once. Think I’d learn, right?

Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., has written a great article on the importance of finding balance in our lives and how doing so can help prevent illness.

For writers and other artists, we have another disadvantage of trying to be a super hero. If we don’t consistently take time for R&R, not only can our health and relationships suffer but our art suffers. Ever try to create when you’re exhausted? I don’t do my best work when my brain doesn’t function properly.

For the majority of us who haven’t yet made the transition to earning a full-time living from our art, we have to balance our time between day jobs, family, and other responsibilities. Finding down time is difficult.

Even if we find the time, sometimes it’s difficult to turn off our over-amped nervous system to allow the needed time to relax and heal. Ever take a week’s vacation only to find it took you three days to unwind and get into vacation mode?

I enjoy my art. When I do have time off from my business or other responsibilities, I spend time on my writing or other aspects of my writing career. For me, often the quickest way to give my body a chance to rest and heal is by taking a nap. Even a 20-minute nap in the afternoon re-charges my batteries and gives my body and mind a much-needed break. I don’t nap every day, but I’d benefit even more if I did.

The next time you feel overworked, overstressed, or just plain grumpy (a sure sign that I’m not getting enough rest), take a nap. If your nerves are jangly and you can’t sleep, put on some headphones or earphones and listen to soft music.

I have a Playlist on my ipod named “Sleepy Time” that I listen to whenever I need to unwind and rest. Because I associate this Playlist with sleep, it usually only takes one song before I’m out. Try it for yourself. Before you know it, you’ll be in slumber land where, hopefully, even the superheroes are taking a break.

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