The Art of the Nap
I rarely nap- hardly ever, in fact. Don’t get me wrong- on the rare occasions that I so indulge, I always think to myself that I should do it more often. However, there is something about my personality that won’t let me. It’s as if I think I am going to lose out on part of the day, lose out on experiencing something special. I feel that I need to keep busy and not waste any part of the daylight in slumber. It may be time to rethink that mentality.
Last night I didn’t sleep well at all. I came home late from playing a really challenging, exciting, and fun concert with the Alabama Symphony, and- as is always the case after a big concert or recital- I couldn’t turn my mind off. I was wired and mentally still on stage. I went to bed and read, hoping that I would eventually doze off…also knowing that our 6am wake up call to get ready for Dan’s yoga class was going to come much sooner than I wanted. Dan fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow next to me.
I made it to yoga, but felt sluggish and out of it all day. Not good, as I had to play the same concert again this evening and really needed to be on. Dan made me promise to take a nap, so this afternoon, while he was working in the yard, I took the pups and crawled into bed. I went through something like the three stages of grief, but for napping; at first I felt denial. I didn’t need to sleep- I am invincible! I will just read some and then get up and do chores. Sleep? Who needs sleep?
As I pondered all of that, next came anger. Okay, it wasn’t anger- it takes a lot to make me angry. What it really was- guilt. I felt like I should be out there in the yard working alongside Dan instead of under the covers. However…the bed felt cozy, the dogs assumed their favorite horizontal positions next to me, the afternoon light filtered through the window.
Finally came acceptance. My mind agreed that it was foggy, tired. My body was spent from an intense week of exercise, rehearsals, housework, and spotty sleep. The dogs were sleeping away- experts in the art of the nap. I felt myself begin to let go, begin to be in the moment instead of worrying about what I “should” be doing- something I am working on in my daily life. My mind began to drift as Cooper let out a big sigh. She was down for the count. Sophie snored softly.
Forty-five minutes later, I awoke to Coops snuggled next to me, tail thumping as she stared at me. My iPad and glasses rested on my stomach. Both dogs stretched and yawned, happy as always to be in the bed. I realized that I could really learn about the art of the nap from these two. They nap a lot- they don’t stress about it, they don’t make a big deal- they just blissfully sleep, waking up recharged and ready for their next adventure. Either I had an epiphany or some really good dreams, but suddenly I saw the true merit of the nap.
Checking out for a while wasn’t a waste of my time. It refreshed me, made me more alert, and helped prepare me for the major focus I would need to get through tonight’s concert. I am always on the run- working, practicing, taking care of Mom, taking care of things for Dan, our animals, our home, my students. I love all of that, but sometimes I need to also look after me. If I am worn out, out of focus, I won’t be any good to anyone. I’m going to give myself permission to take the occasional siesta.
It’s time for me to learn that it’s okay to steal a few guilt-free moments for nurturing Denise- a nap, time reading a book, a bit of window shopping, a phone call to my best friend, or just sitting on the top deck staring out at the city. My dogs are very wise. Well, except for that whole chasing their own tails thing.