As we took our morning walk yesterday my sister Pat and I were having one of our scintillating conversations about blood pressure, cholesterol and eating healthy. I’d recently read an article in a health magazine about the role stress plays on one’s health, and it gave ideas on how to diminish life’s stressors. I saw Pat nodding her head in assent as I mentioned some ways this author suggested a woman de-stress (a bubble bath, a walk), until I said, “Spend an afternoon in bed in your pajamas, reading books,” and then, I swear, I saw her visibly shudder.
We both laughed, because we knew that we were each thinking the same thing: If I did that, I wouldn’t get anything done. It was funny then, but today I am wondering if, perhaps, we all should allow ourselves some time when we aren’t doing anything, going anywhere, or accomplishing much of anything. Wouldn’t we be healthier for it? Or would we all turn into couch potatoes (or in this case bed spuds), eating cinnamon toast and sipping tea and reading endless stacks of books?
This woman “of a certain age” who also faced a birthday ending in ZERO this month, is fit and vital and beautiful. She is strong of limb and personality. She is, I will admit, one of my idols. It is no coincidence that I have recently colored my hair a dark brown (and allowed my 13-year-old budding hairdresser to take a scissors to it). I am not ashamed to admit I am emulating her to a degree.
It will be a year this Spring that we have been taking morning walks together. I look forward to the mornings more for her talks than the walks, but the walking is pleasant too. I have enjoyed getting to know this sister that I would definitely choose as a friend. We have more in common than our urge to “get things done,” there is the shared love of paper and books and an appreciation for the innocence of children and the beauty of nature.
That said, maybe both she and I need to re-evaluate our need to “get things done.” I have a confession to make: After I wrote my blog post about not knowing how to nap, I gave myself the permission to nap when I needed it. (Like when clock hits 2:00 p.m. and I can barely keep my eyes open) Instead of stumbling about the house searching for a dose of caffeine or sugar, I have recently tried my hand at napping. Surprisingly, I’ve discovered that 20 minutes cozied up on my bed or sitting in the living room chair refreshes me enough to get through the rest of the day in a better mood. And we all like me in a better mood.
Today is a perfect day. A perfect day to do nothing. Little ice crystals are hitting our windows and slicking down the sidewalks and the roads. Winter storm warnings cancelled the area schools. No one is going outside to brave the cold and ice. I’ve already filled the cupboards and refrigerator. One daughter is playing at a neighbor’s and my grand-daughter is here playing with Abby. Matt and Emily are busy upstairs.
I think, perhaps, it is time to practice that de-stressing technique of reading the afternoon away.
Just as soon as I make my cup of tea and sprinkle that toast with cinnamon and sugar.