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  • jane anderson

Secret Siesta

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

Increasingly I find myself snoozing after lunch. When I start awake, I am disorientated and instinctively furtive. Am I on holiday? At my mum’s? Is it Sunday? Do I have to go to bed now ie haul myself away from the telly and upstairs for proper sleep where I lie awake half the night?

No. I have just been siesta-ing. Unnaturally I feel. This is not the Mediterranean, after all, it’s England. I am not retired or pregnant and am over five years of age. I have no excuse for resting with my eyes closed. Therefore it can only be idleness, sadness, sickness or anti-socialness at the root of my little sleeps. But none of those things apply (give me time.)

Maybe I’m simply tired. Possibly, but this nodding off is becoming routine. The thing is, I enjoy it and I do feel better afterwards. And it’s only for about twenty minutes. And no one sees me. And it doesn’t cost anything. And what harm does it do anyway?

Justified. Unfortunately, it’s going to be difficult to continue once I’m back in the workplace unless I turn into one of those people you pass in the car park listening to cricket with the window open: seat back, head back, mouth open, remains of lunch in lap. I don’t know how they drive like that. Seriously, you know who you are parked over there in the corner under the only tree. We do. And now I understand you.

Not having to cram down a sandwich in a half-hour midday slot while continuing to work in front of a screen so you can tear away early from the office has become one of the gentle pleasures of this lockdown. I can now see the point of a slow lunch and a civilised nap afterwards. It feels like rich living to me.

Thankfully I own-work from home most of the time but I do get periods when I have to be out and about. When that happens, I necessarily go into a brief period of adjustment to reacclimatise myself to the barbarism of the average workplace. Frequently I find there isn’t even a soft seat, never mind staffroom, for employees to remove themselves to over lunch for a cup of tea. They either stand or continue to sit on the same hard work chair or walk the streets.

It doesn’t need a visiting academic to conclude that these people will eventually fail to produce the goods due to one form of ill health or another working for such a thoughtless organisation.

No wonder so many of us are preferring to work from our own homes where we have a modicum of control over where, when and how we meet work targets. We’re relatively comfortable physically and psychologically labouring in circumstances that suit us. These often include productive napping.

In fact, having read around the subject, I now understand a brief midday shut eye can be good for the soul. So leave your guilt behind and join me, where and when you can, in factoring in forty winks after an undisturbed workday lunch. Relish your freedom to choose this. Let go of anti-nappism and own your daily siesta.

Jane Anderson PhD specialises in Sociospacial Reciprocity and Place Therapy. She's been working in wellbeing for nigh on 30 years and is especially interested in the people-place relationship and how it underpins all other aspects of staff engagement and wellbeing. Her Staff Wellbeing Framework Model is now charter-marked for quality assurance. / 07742942651

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