People are just worn out. Most humans in the modern world have been found to be chronically sleep deprived. Even small amounts of sleep deprivation or a sleep deficit is linked to weight gain, foggy thinking, poor concentration, coordination mistakes, an elevated stress response and lowered immune function, just to name a few. So with a new pandemic floating around, this is about the worst time for us to have a sleep deficit. However, people seem more exhausted than usual. It’s not just a lack of enough and good quality sleep that taxes our energy systems but stress while we are awake.
We are also chronically stressed in the modern world and that along with a sleep deficit is a recipe for chronic disease, a lack of peacefulness or contentment with life, and a reduced ability to deal with what comes without going into ‘flight, fight, freeze, or faint’ mode. All you have to do is watch tv or some social media and you can feel at least one of these modes kick in. It’s a tough time all around the globe it seems.
I have just learned about a woman who has a ‘Nap Ministry’. Trisha Hersey postulates that napping or resting and checking out of the ‘grind economy,’ at least sometimes, is a form of working toward social justice. She suggests that the capitalistic view point of ‘more, more, more’ is driving us all to poor health. Certainly, by the looks of it, we are not doing well overall with our rates of chronic illness and autoimmune disease going through the roof.
So Trisha takes naps. She makes space for adults to take naps together and support each other instead of doing even yoga or meditation. What a concept! I have always dreamed of adult play spaces where we are free to finger paint, dress up, jump on trampolines or in ball or foam pits AND of course there would be a nap room!
Napping for Justice is part of what The Nap Ministry is about–resisting the call to do more and be a human doing instead of a human being. She says that is what drives a lot of social injustice because some people don’t have the access or resources to produce more, more, more. They get left behind in poverty and thus considered less valuable beings then the wall street millionaire. This is not a just notion nor does it promote compassion or community—the only things that have enabled humans to really thrive, and still do.
So what would happen if you napped? Or even just laid down to rest to start with? Do you notice immediate resistance when you read that or does it give you a sense of ‘Yes!’. Whichever it is, I encourage you explore that. If there’s resistance, what is that about? What are you afraid will happen if you rest? What can you do to plan around what ‘might’ happen? How could you create a support or resource to work around it? Could you challenge yourself to even just let the fear go, be willing to experiment and try a rest or a nap to see if what you are afraid of really comes to pass. Then, you can work around the reality, not the anticipated reality.
How many parents out there need a nap? Could you exchange a play date with another parent so you can go take a nap? If someone asked you to do this so they could nap, would you applaud their self-care or would you judge it? Would you envy it and want to create some for yourself?
Consider that ‘grind culture’ keeps us judging ourselves and others for self-care and the basic human need to rest. I promote play as a Fundamental Universal Need or F.U.N. and it is quite serious. Sleep is as important. I’m joining the Nap Ministry as it’s given me a bit more space to actually nap during the day and not just wait until night or try to go to bed early.
Consider Trisha’s words:
“May a space to daydream and slow down open to you. May you realize the power of taking rest since no one will give it to you. This is why rest is a resistance and a slow meticulous love practice. We must continue deprogramming from grind culture. We must continue not turning away from our own terror. We must deconstruct around the ways we uphold grind culture, capitalism and white supremacy. We must wake up. We will rest.” https://thenapministry.wordpress.com
I have seen this quote too: “You often feel tired not because you’ve done too much, but because you’ve done too little of what sparks a light in you.” Author unknown. That is also true. How many of us are tired because we are so uninspired?
If you can’t necessarily get out of an uninspiring job or activity, is there something you can find within it to look forward to, even if you create it—like a nice place to go eat lunch outside? Or can you find something to do after that responsibility is done in each day to reward yourself, like take walk or better yet, a 20-30 minute nap?! We must find inspiration in our day, one that rejuvenates and adds to our health, and resist turning to something that leaches it from our physical and mental health like substance use or other distractions like unhealthy food, tv, gaming or social media.
We need to rest and re-charge and PLAY. When you make a commitment to your own health, you will inspire and be a role model for others around you, especially our children, who need us to be that for them. Funny to think that napping and playing can actually be the best things to show our children. It will start them off on the right path of being a human being, not a human doing. Which will you be?