Last Wednesday I did something totally out of character. It was around lunchtime, and I was sitting at my desk drowsy and unmotivated, staring at my to-do list. It had been a long week, and I had not been able to disconnect over the weekend because I was training students on how to become effective coaches as part of a 5-day intensive that included both my Saturday and Sunday. As I sat there staring at Facebook, a thought came into my mind. “I should take a nap.”
I immediately ignored it and got busy answering emails because I am not the “kind” of person that takes naps. Ever. As I sorted through my inbox, not really focusing, the thought persisted, “Just take thirty minutes,” it said. After a 10-minute internal dispute with myself I went upstairs, climbed into bed, and took a nap.
It was wonderful. I woke up giddy, refreshed and rejuvenated. I felt like I did when I used to cut class during my senior year of high-school – like I had gotten away with something. It was exhilarating. Watch my YouTube Video, to hear more about the deliciousness of self indulgence:
When I came downstairs, I was ready to work. I was focused. My mood was elevated. I felt joyful. This got me thinking about why don’t I allow myself to do this type of self-care. I am good at going to the doctor and dentist and getting my annual checkups. But this kind of frivolity is not something that I ever indulge in. And there it is, it’s an indulgence. Taking a nap is not part of a bigger goal, accomplishing my to-do list or getting things done. I am a results oriented person, so this type of behavior is really uncomfortable for me. And you know what? It opened me up for more self-indulgence. That night I told the kids we were eating leftovers and let them warm them up when they were hungry while I sat on the couch eating popcorn, drinking root beer and watching a movie. It was great. I felt like I was on the kind of vacation I didn’t know I liked.
I turned off my inner critic that wanted to tell me that I was a bad mom because I hadn’t sat down at the table to eat dinner with my kids or checked their homework. And I am glad that I did. That little nap and movie break set me up to have a fabulous day today. I am energized.
All of this led me to thinking about why we don’t allow ourselves certain types of self-care. Why are some things easier for others than for us? Is it our wiring? Our internal dialogue? Our limiting beliefs? Or is it bigger than that? My belief is that some of this go-getter mentality has become hardwired in a lot of us because of the society we live in. The messaging we get about success is measured by accomplishments, money and achievement. What if we started measuring it by how we feel and what we give rather than by what we do and how much we get done? The to-do list will always have something on it to occupy our mind. We have to let go of the belief that we are on a reward system and that we can only have the treat (the M&M) when we have reached the end of the list. If we wait for that, we will never get there.
This week I encourage you to have your treat first. Schedule it. Let go of the nagging internal dialogue that says you can’t, that you have too much to do, that there isn’t any time, any point, any reason – and do it anyway. Share it with the Shine on Purpose Facebook community.
It’s time to change our wiring so that we can live happier and freer lives. It’s time to take a nap.