THE STRAIGHT UP
IS NAPPING A HOBBY? A Little Rest With All Our Stress
Not long ago, I was chatting with a gentleman who does repairs for one of the companies I work with. He was really friendly, and as we were getting to know each other, he asked what kind of hobbies I enjoy. I’ll be honest — I didn’t know how to answer the question. Some of my long-time patients may remember I used to have a really cool hobby: racing cars. But it has been awhile since I thought about going out on the track. My weekends are more often spent reading, going for walks, cooking dinner, or taking naps. For some reason, I felt bad that I didn’t have an exciting hobby to tell him about. In that moment, I felt stupid and guilty, but I didn’t know why. I mean, I work all week long, running three practices on my own! Am I required to have big plans every weekend? As I thought about why my lack of a cool hobby to talk about made me feel weird, I realized it’s because our culture can be very anti-rest. We’re told that if we are not pushing ourselves to work harder and do more, we’re wasting time.You can enjoy your hobbies, but you 'd better be productive while you do it! It’s not enough to just paint or run in your free time; you have to sell your paintings on Etsy or be constantly training for the next marathon.
run ourselves into the ground. Brad Stulberg, author of “Peak Performance: ElevateYour Game, Avoid Burnout, andThriveWith the NewScience of Success,” uses this simple equation: Stress + Rest =Growth. A little stress can be good, as it keeps us from becoming complacent. Likewise, too much rest is bad, “IT’S IMPORTANT TO STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE, BUT IT’S EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER NOT TO RUN OURSELVES INTO THE GROUND.” because it prevents us from accomplishing anything. Far too often, we put too much emphasis on stress and far too little on rest. I see this stress overload in all of my patients. Middle school and high school kids have crazy schedules, packed with fiveAP classes, sports after school every season, and anxiety over applying for college and how they will pay for it. Adults aren’t much better about managing their own stress over work, life, and kids. We’re pretty good at being stressed, but our ability to rest is severely lacking. After putting ourselves in “go, go, go” mode all day, the to-do list might be completed. But if we don’t give ourselves a break, what was the point of putting ourselves through all that stress?
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” a stress-obsessed person might say. This mindset baffles me, because I love to sleep. It’s one of my all-time favorite activities. My husband has called me a “champion sleeper.” Sometimes, I would go so far as to call sleep my hobby! I am able to growmuch more and take on more stress when I get enough sleep. I think a lot of people feel sick, depressed, or overwhelmed because they refuse to let themselves rest.You don’t need to schedule a tropical vacation to justify resting a little. It’s okay to kick back on the couch once in a while. Read a book for the joy of reading, binge-watch a little Netflix, or take an afternoon nap.You deserve it! Once you’ve let yourself rest, you’ll be ready to face the world again — and maybe even take on more than you could before. –Dr. Leslie Pitner
It’s important to strive for excellence, but it’s equally important to remember not to
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