Go ahead. Stare out the window. Stare at a favorite photo or painting. Stare at the computer screen.
My good friend just sent me an email saying, “I just want to stare out the window for a while, and think of nothing.” She recently retired from one of her jobs, but has family illness stresses surrounding her much of the time. “If I were still having to do my job, I would have a nervous breakdown,” she continued.
Most of us feel this way at one time or another…. maybe more often than we would like. It is hard to find time to just clear the mind and take a deep breath and forget the things around us that need to be dealt with. It’s really the best thing we can do for ourselves, though. Find some calm amidst the howling winds of stress, no matter where it is or how long it lasts.
My husband takes “power naps”. He said he taught himself to do this during Basic Training in the Army, when he was driven physically and mentally to perform. Now he frequently has several projects going on at the same time, in different locations so the “power nap” gives him a much-needed break and helps him clear his mind so he can move on to the next step. The people who know him and work with him understand what’s going on, and have come to accept it. Last week, though, I got a little worried because the pickup truck was sitting in the driveway, motor running, and husband slumped over the steering wheel. I quickly ran outside just to check on him. He woke up when I tapped on the window of the truck and grinned. I felt badly that I had interrupted this important part of his routine but he said, “Thanks! My 9 minutes were up.”
My 42 minute planning period at school afforded me some much-needed downtime. Usually there were many thing to accomplish. Occasionally, though, I would just close my classroom door, turn off the lights, and sit back in my chair. I didn’t fall asleep, but I attempted to clear my mind in preparation for the rest of the day. Sometimes a few minutes are all you need. Nine minutes if you are my husband.
Time alone without constant distractions is important. I worry about some of my friends and many of my former students who are in constant contact with everyone via texting. They never take a break. It’s not good to be constantly bombarded with messages, problems, work tasks, and distractions. Staring out the window can be your “meditation” time. One doesn’t have to chant or study ancient techniques to relax. It can be simpler than that. The mind needs peace.
What is your “power nap”?