Why You Should Register for a Siesta in the Spring Semester

I’ve always been quite ambitious, and by ambitious I mean irrationally Type A. I plan out my entire week, by the hour, every Sunday night (and I do so in erase-able pen, so that it can be both color coordinated and altered in case of any last minute change of plans… I’m aware that I probably need professional help). That being said, the other day I was in the shower when I began to feel myself tense up and get anxious. I couldn’t help but think of all the things I could be accomplishing if I weren’t currently in the shower. Unfortunately, prior to moving to Manhattan and becoming a full-time student, I associated showering with lavish bubbles and steamy relaxation. Fast-forward to now, where I’ve seriously considered investing in a waterproof laptop because these 30 minutes are wasteful unless I can catch up on emails I’ve flagged and have since neglected.

We might not realize that this city is seriously impacting us, but Manhattan is chaotic. It is fast-paced and constantly going. Everyone seems to be going somewhere, doing something, and it’s scary to feel like you may be left behind or not doing enough. Days fly by, and then weeks, and before you know it, your leg hair is so long you have your own insulated heating source, and your fridge consists of half-eaten raw cookie dough and a half rotten tomato (from the organic section of the supermarket, so it’s not that bad).

After I had that mini-panic attack in the shower, I realized how unhealthy it is to be so wrapped up in this lifestyle where the only things that get me through the day are lattes and “go-getter” mantras. Why can’t Americans, or more specifically New Yorkers, or even more specifically New Yorker collegiettes, hop on the siesta wagon?

We are too busy worrying about paying off debt, finding an internship, getting papers done, or making time to call our parents, that we forget to breathe. Self-care is equally, if not more, important than anything that seems to consume us at the moment. Paper deadlines pass, companies will always need interns to run for coffee, and we’re all in debt together, the only thing that will never fade away, unless you keep on it is self-care and self-love. The two go hand-in-hand.

Being that we have the liberty of picking our schedules as college students, make sure to register yourself for a Manhattan style siesta. That doesn't mean you literally have to go back to your apartment or dorm and nap, but definitely allot specific times throughout your week where you can escape from the pressures of New York. You don’t have to catch up on homework, or excessively plan out your week (because I know I’m not the only one who does it), maybe just watch Netflix in this designated time. Just simply be. Sit back and relax. Sounds insane, right? But, surprisingly, it isn’t impossible to disengage from the world for a minute or two (or 45). In fact, it will actually do you some good once you master it.

Elizabeth Gilbert explains in her book, Eat, Pray, Love, “Il bel far niente means 'the beauty of doing nothing'... [it] has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement. You don't necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either.” I couldn’t describe the importance of allowing yourself to enjoy your own presence with no distractions more perfectly than the Italians already have. I personally have never heard of a direct English translation to this saying, which speaks volumes on the American culture.

You'd be surprised the wonders taking (at least) 20 mintues out of your day to put on a face mask will do. And, I’m not talking about the impact it will have on your skin (although, I guarantee you will be glowing). But, just simply acknowledging that you love yourself and care about your own well-being enough to take this initiative will give you a glow that you can’t buy at Bath & Body Works. And, don't you dare let yourself feel that pang of guilt for "wasting your time." You and I know very well that your happiness and mental stability is of value. Don't doubt the fact that no matter where you are in life, or what you have or haven't accomplished today, you are worthy of doing things for yourself. 

We've been preparing for the next step and competing with ourselves and our peers to do better for our entire lives. But, how could we ever be the best version of ourselves when we desperately need a nap or just a little time to regain our sanity? The idea of a nine-to-five has turned into worrying about emails while showering. My only advice is to make like the Europeans, do nothing, and bask in every second of it.