Like clockwork, parents all over the world put their little ones down for a little R & R about the same time everyday. Parents engage in such a routine because it is established that a nap is healthy for their growing kids. As these kids age, however, we place more demands on them with school and sports though their rigorous schedules prevent them from getting some of the down time we gave them when they were younger.
If you think kids or adolescents are over-worked, take a look at your adult schedule and let the exhaustive range of your duties sink in. When was the last time you took a nap? When you consider examples of self-care like this, we are really talking about what kind of relationship you have with yourself – how well you take care of your mind and body. Odds are that you are better at taking care of others than you are of yourself.
One of the things I like about shows like “The Oprah Winfrey Show” is that they have asked people to begin thinking about this sort of thing – this crazy thing mental health professionals call self-care. At the same time, not everyone has time to sit down and watch television. I know that my mother, who had five children, rarely had time during the middle of the day to sit down and relax. In fact, she would have felt guilty allowing herself to relax.
Mothers, however, are not the only ones sacrificing too much – men do it, too. I recently attended a training in which the facilitator said that taking a ten minute break and closing your eyes three times per day reduces your stress by 60%. Maybe three times is too much to begin with, but try at least once. I believe that you will find that your relationship with yourself improves as you make these self-care efforts. Little kids aren’t the only ones who need and deserve a nap.