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The Permission I Needed to Take a Nap Every Day During This Pandemic

“Yes, you can just take a nap every day of this pandemic.”

My therapist spoke those words to me, and they nearly brought me to tears.

No, I do not need to make the most of this time at home.

No, I do not need to learn a foreign language.

No, I do not need to learn how to bake bread (which, by the way, I already know how).

No, I do not need to make my own mask. (I do not feel like sewing.)

No, I do not need to take up yoga. (I hate yoga.)

No, I do not need to take a walk every day or take up running. (I don’t feel like it.)

No, I do not need to foster a dog. (I would have to walk it, see above.)

No, I do not need to catch up on “Tiger King.” (I do not understand the big fuss.)

What a relief. I feel like I have just been let off the hook. Now what do I do?

It is easy. Do nothing. For me, I lie down and listen to music (my form of meditation and grounding).

The reality is, we are all going through a collective trauma and that takes a lot emotional and physical energy. Our earth is in panic mode and we all genuinely fearing for our lives. Our new normal is scary and unpredictable and there seems to be no end in sight.

Considering this, there is no need to do anything else unless you must (like taking care of children or elders). You have permission to take a nap even though you didn’t get up before noon. Living through a pandemic is exhausting.

I have always been an overachiever and was up to any challenge. Now that I have been sick with a mental health condition for 12 years, I’ve had to learn to take a step back and lean into self-care. Sometimes I slip up, but for the most part I am taking good care of myself. These past three weeks have unfortunately been a true challenge, like I’m sure they have been for others. At first I thought, what am I going to do with all this time on my hands? How do I mange the isolation and boredom?

Then, week two, the depression and anxiety set in.

How was I going to make it? I turned to my treatment team for help. I started doing video sessions with my therapist and psychiatrist and, most importantly, the friends I used to see I now call, and we have long, drawn out conversations. No, it is not the same, but it is what we can do for now.

What has been helpful is remembering staying home to lesson the burden on first responders and the healthcare system will in turn save a life. And I can’t think of a more noble cause than that.

So, I will stay at home (bored and isolated as I am), and I’ll have faith because although we have a deep divide in the country, we still for the most part take care of each other.

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Getty image via nadia_bormotova