Self-Care: Naps and Other Essentials to Maintain Balance

In this post, I talk about the importance of naps, taking deep breaths and self care.

Self-Care: Naps and Other Essentials to Maintain Balance

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up in the morning and you’re absolutely exhausted?

That was me today.

When you can’t sleep well after a day or two or you have a lot on your mind you feel worn out physically, mentally, emotionally and maybe, like me, spiritually. I felt exhausted a lot more my final two years of college because I was making up a credit shortage, a work study job my senior year, time with friends and doing all my schoolwork. It was draining, not gonna lie. But, I graduated in two years regardless of all the stress. Plus, it helps to know other people are just as stressed, too, and look for some relief when things get too hectic.

I can’t forget to mention technology’s role in messing up my sleep. How many of these scenarios sound familiar? Staying up late working on papers, watching videos on YouTube or shows on Amazon or Netflix, checking email too many times and reading articles online since most professors post their readings that way now.

Self-care was one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my early 20s. I should have done it a lot more than I did. There are some days where you just can’t have it all put together and need to cry, vent to friends or take a nap and be left alone. When you’re exhausted, that should be a sign to slow down, take a deep breath and put yourself first. People are usually understanding about self-care and encourage it. When friends told me about their stress and taking naps in-between busy schedules, I felt less alone and assured that I wasn't the only one having a difficult time with things. 

After a late breakfast, I decided to go back in my room and take a nap. In the past, I set my alarm to 30 minutes, but always found myself barely refreshed as it takes a couple of minutes for me to fall asleep. When I did an hour, I was even more tired. So I tried 45 minutes for the very first time. Trying 3 different times sounds like an odd Goldilocks and the Three Bears comparison because of looking for the one choice out of three that is just right. Get it? Sorry, my weird humor.

                              Two Sleeping Lions by Lindsay Niles; Credit: Freerange Stock

Lights off, door closed, shade down, window open to let fresh air in and alarm set to 45 minutes. As I fell asleep, I took some deep breaths to try and relax. I’ve learned that from two classes I took called Stress Management and Hatha Yoga I that breathing helps center yourself and get you back to the present moment. Meditating for just 5 minutes also helps calm your mind and worrisome thoughts too.

I felt a lot better when I woke up. Refreshed, calm, less anxious and much less exhausted.

Getting enough sleep and the importance of naps became significant topics of discussion in the last few years as more sleep studies come out about habits among teenagers, young adults and adults. Analyzing technology’s role, how teenagers have to get up so early for school and how busy they are depending on activities they partake in, the issue of sleep insomnia among older folks and trying to maintain a steady sleep schedule, even on weekends and having time set aside to nap at school or work are just some of the topics discussed. I know for some it may be difficult to make time for naps because of work commitments and busy schedules in general. That’s okay! If naps don't help sometimes, then try taking a few deep breaths. Sign up for a Yoga class or take a walk in nature. Listen to soothing music or talk with a good friend.

Just remember that you have a right to take care of yourself.

Have a good rest, my friends, and be at peace. You deserve it.  

If you want to learn more about how sleep affects you and how napping can help, consider checking out the National Sleep Foundation.

*Featured Image: Tired Pillow Represents Bed Insomnia and Bedding by StuartMiles; Credit: Freerange Stock*

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