In general, as Americans, we’re busy people. With work, family, and a variety of other responsibilities, it’s easy to rush through the day—and cut sleep out of the schedule when you need to free up a few additional hours. With our culture’s focus on productivity and push to be constantly in motion, it can be difficult finding the time to take breaks throughout the week to slow down and have some time for yourself. That’s what makes the idea of the siesta so appealing.
The siesta, most often associated with warm-climate countries, is an afternoon break originally intended to keep workers out of the sun in the day’s hottest hours. It’s currently used as an opportunity to catch up on some always-needed sleep or take a long lunch break to recharge.
In contrast to lunch breaks in the U.S., which rarely last longer than an hour, countries with a siesta often get a midday respite of several hours. However, if we could incorporate these longer daily reprieves, I think it would be a step toward decelerating our at times hectic lives.
Imagine: You’re halfway through the workday. Now, instead of eating quickly and getting back to your job, you’re able to go home for a few hours, see family, enjoy your meal, and take a rejuvenating nap. It’s a true opportunity to slow down so you can come back refreshed and finish up the rest of the day with the same energy you started with. No post-lunch afternoon slump.
The siesta is a great solution to our often chaotic, overworked days. In a culture that’s so focused on productivity, a siesta might be just what we need to make some more time for ourselves in the day. It’s a chance to unwind halfway through the day, to recuperate, to see the people you love.
So, when you’re feeling worn out and need to slow down, it may be time to grab a blanket and a pillow and enjoy a siesta.