A woman is sitting on a couch with her eyes closed while a cat sits on her lap. There is a music player next to the couch and calm musical notes are wafting through the air.

Give Yourself Permission to Take A Nap

Why is it so hard to just sit down, close your eyes, and allow yourself to sleep, meditate, daydream, or whatever, in the middle of the day? It’s really hard!!

My body forced me to nap

When I was newly diagnosed I rarely had a choice whether to take a nap or not; my body simply crashed without much input on my part. Every afternoon, I fell asleep on the couch. It didn’t matter what I was doing, I just had to lay down.

Daily afternoon crash

At the time, I was a very active musician with most of my work taking place in the late afternoon and evening. That’s when I would teach music lessons and/or attend rehearsals or performances. So naps in the early afternoon weren’t a huge problem at the time. But experiencing this daily afternoon crash reinforced the idea that there was no way I could hold a “normal” job that would require me to be alert and attentive for eight consecutive hours every day. MS was somewhat in charge.

Setting an alarm helped

Recognizing my frustration and worry about falling asleep and the risk of not waking up in time to go to work, my boyfriend (now husband) gave me a fabulous small gift — a travel clock. (This was the time before smartphones that could do EVERYTHING!). The travel clock was such a great idea. I could set the alarm, lay my head down on the pillow, and make sure that I woke up on time.

I don't want to have to nap

Nowadays, it seems like I have become stubborn as all get out. I don’t want to nap. I don’t want to have to take a nap. I don’t want to stop being productive during the day, even if I’m only being productive in watching TV or cruising the internet. I just don’t wanna….

Daily fatigue

Lately, fatigue has crept back into the daily grind. Part of it is stress-related and part of it is due to deconditioning caused by fewer opportunities to go biking. Of course, there are plenty of physical activities I could do in the house for exercise. I have hand and ankle weights; I have a Wii game system with the balance board; I even have a stationary exercise bike. I just don’t seem to wanna….

Someone recently reminded me of words that I once shared as advice: give yourself permission.

I shouldn't feel guilty for taking a nap

Before MS takes away my choice again, I need to give myself permission to nap during the day without feeling guilty. I need to give myself permission to stare into space if that seems to be what my body needs at that moment. I need to give myself permission to stop everything and listen to that 1-hour long Mahler symphony if it is what will feed my soul. I need to give myself permission to be kind to myself.

Being kind to myself. Aha, maybe that’s what this is all about.

I need to put myself first

By depriving myself of a nap, I am ensuring that fatigue wins. But taking a nap doesn’t mean fatigue has won; it signifies an important victory over fatigue. It means that I’ve put myself first. I’ve set aside deadlines and arbitrary thoughts of what a “normal” person should be doing during the day.

Naps don’t mean defeat; they mean taking control of your own well-being and putting yourself first.

So, I’m going to give it a try. I’m going to close my computer in a moment. Play one of my favorite CDs (yes, the real kind that go in the machine hooked up to the big speakers). And, see how I feel in 5, 15, or 30 minutes.

Giving myself permission

I give myself permission to focus on me and if I fall asleep in the process, then I guess that’s what my body needs today. A nap.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know what you’ve given yourself permission to do this week.

Be well,
Lisa

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