December 10, 2011— DAY 10: I was thinking about the subject of resting today. Rest is a powerful tool in the process of working toward a goal. Some time ago I came across an article in the Boston Globe titled how to nap. Like we need an article on the fundamentals of napping! Uhhh, yeah! We DO need an article on napping.
Americans are a bunch of really tired people in general. What we know is that taking a nap up to 60 minutes will improve your alertness for up to 10 hours. Research shows that if you take a 26 minute nap, you will increase your performance by 34 percent and your alertness by 54 percent. What’s even more interesting is a Harvard study that showed a 45-minutes nap improved both learning and memory. Many times when I am writing, I will actually go and lie down on the coach, close my eyes and rest a moment. Much of my best work preceded a power-nap! Rest is important. Judeo Christianity has found truth in the Bible’s account that God rested on the 7th day. Some years ago when I was working as an executive and completing my masters there many a day I closed my office door and laid down under my desk for a power nap before writing. Right now I can imagine a great deal of you saying that resting is great in theory but I don’t have time for that. My response is that you will make time for what is important to you. I find that when I go long periods of time without adequate rest that I will start to get sick. Studies show that resting reduces stress and lowers the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
I personally don’t get to take a power-nap every day – but at least once a week I try to rest. That means I turn the television off, put away the laptop, close the books and turn on some soft music. I lay down on the couch and rest. Sometimes rest for me is shutting down the noise and just getting outside in nature. Go for a walk around your block or go hiking at the nearest park. Turn off some of the confusion of the days, weeks and months. Shut it down for a bit. No need to spend time worrying about the problems of the day, they will be there when you get back. And who knows, maybe if you quiet your mind a bit more you might actually come up with some solutions to the challenges you face. And if you need it, I give you permission to take some down time. You need it – we all need it.
Today’s challenge: Find a way to get at least 15 to 30 minutes of rest time a day. If that means a 15 minute catnap in the car or 15 minutes when you get home from work – do it.
Philip A Foster, MA is Founder/CEO of Maximum Change Inc. Elevating leaders and their organizations to the next level since 2005. Master Certified Coach, Philip A Foster, MA and his associates facilitate effective positive change by helping organizations, leaders and individuals in high demand — design and implement strategies that maximize focus and deliver results. Specializing in Organization and Strategic Leadership.