Learning To Relax, Part Two

April 18, 2015

I recently saw an alarming article, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the headline: “Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic.”  Below this headline there were a ton of words, many numbers, and also some graphs.  It looked far too mind-numbing to actually read (plus I was very tired), but I got the gist from the straight-forward headline – we need to sleep more.  I’m going to assume that the CDC went on to demand that everyone start taking naps (after washing your hands, of course), and that failing to do so is basically akin to treason.  So, I resolve to start doing my part for my country.  I will take more naps, with no remorse or guilt.

In a past blog, I wrote about how I am learning to relax – something that is a work in progress.  I have never been good at napping.  The voice in my head has always insisted on reminding me about all the other things I should be doing rather than resting, convincing me that I was being lazy and wasting time.  Since changing jobs and becoming a stay at home dad (yes it’s a job, and I’m proud to have the good fortune to do it), one of my duties is to try to get my daughter to take a short nap each afternoon.  She’s four, and can go without, but I find that evenings are a little easier if naps occur.  It also allows me time to do some housework (usually the never-ending task of laundry) without interruption.  My daughter and I typically snuggle up and read some books first, then I will lie with her until she falls asleep.

To my amazement, I’ve found that I am starting to doze off, myself.  It’s spring in the Midwest, and some days are almost hot, but there is usually a strong, refreshing breeze that comes in the open window next to the bed.  The blinds gently rattle.  Outside the window you can hear dogs barking, birds chirping, a distant lawn mower, an airplane passing overhead – a suburban symphony.  The blinds rattle again…and I’m out.

My naps are usually very short, but they are very refreshing.  I genuinely believe that being able to sleep like this is a sign of my mind slowing down, and me being more content with life.  I’m not lazy, I’m working my butt off.  But I’m also learning to relax – and loving it.  I highly recommend that you do the same.  Peanuts creator, Charles M. Schulz, wrote that we should “learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, (and) rest this afternoon.”  What are you waiting for, take a nap today!  Remember the plea from the CDC, and take pride in the fact that with each nap, you’re fighting a national epidemic.  

Your country needs you.  Sweet dreams.

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