I had the privilege of spending one full day alone with my infant son. It was an interesting and soul-searching experience for me so I decided to make the best of it by observing and making notes where necessary. I figured that my son will cry when he can’t visibly see someone around, he will cry when he’s hungry, he will cry when he needs attention and wants to play and strangely enough for me, he will cry when he wants to sleep. In the 12 hours plus we spent together, he ate up to 8 times, slept an average of 30 minutes at intervals and played, well, I was too playful to note how long we played.
I broke down his activities into three:
2. Play and
With time as he grows, his activities will increase, he will handle his business by himself if you know what I mean, he will go to school, he will read, he will write, he will begin to wash his own clothes and start doing chores around the house. At some point he will even begin to think, analyze and plan his life. This was the case for all of us. As I reminisced on this, something struck me, as we get deep into the business of being adults, we start neglecting the very first set of activities we did as infants; eat, play and sleep. I’m here to tell you to stop!
Sounds very simple right? Who will neglect eating? Truth is many of us do. You might not jettison food entirely and it’s not a case of engaging in any spiritual exercise. Most of us as we get very busy with life stop paying attention to what we eat. Some of us even brag about how we can get by with Galaa and Coke for one week straight. Some say, “Forget oh, me I can survive on just bread and water”. You are harming yourself. Your body is the vehicle that carries your spirit and your soul, it needs to be serviced and nourished. If you fail to do so, the day it packs up, you lose your license to operate on earth. Please eat well and eat right. I don’t mean the once in a quarter treat you give yourself, that’s also good but eat well and eat right on a regular. Experts recommend basing your meals on higher fibre starchy carbohydrates, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, eating more fish, cutting down on saturated fat and sugar, eating less salt and drinking lots of water. Eating right can be your defense against sicknesses and diseases.
I’m the number one culprit here. I realized recently I’ve stopped playing. I mean just play not play-work or work-play but just let go of all the seriousness and play. I have become too serious for life. I document all the time, I analyze too much at times. I need to calm down and just play. You need to too. We need to do this deliberately. If you want to look as fresh and as cheerful as babies, then trust me, you can’t cheat on play. Whatever good way you can have good fun, just do it and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Don’t hold back. Go to the park and run around like a kid, visit the zoo, go to the beach, organize a picnic with family and friends, play board and card games, go dancing, host a movie night in your home and invite friends/neighbours over. Play with your spouse, play with your kids, play with your siblings, and play with your friends. Even if you are all by yourself, by all means play. Your life depends on it and I mean that. King Solomon put it this way, “A merry heart does good, like medicine”b. I must add, please don’t reduce play to crushing candies on your phone like I see most people do. Put the phone aside and play hard, laugh hard too.
If you ever wondered the secret to the freshness you see in babies, look no further, it’s found in these three activities. Babies get a good dose of sleep in addition to their eating and playing. You may not sleep as much as babies but you can try. While my son was enjoying his 30 minutes sleep at intervals I was busy trying to get as many things as possible done before he gets up and start calling for attention. So there was no way I could sleep but night eventually comes when we can rest. Please get some rest. We know you are too powerful, you can go 24 hours at a stretch without sleep but you are simply hurting your engine. For your physical and mental wellbeing, you need to sleep. Sleep rejuvenates you, sleep helps you recover from stress, sleep improves your memory, sleep recalibrates your system, and it calms you down. Sleep deprivation can cause headaches, difficulty in concentrating, forgetfulness and so on. Experts recommend that to enjoy good sleep, you must ensure you’re doing enough activity during the day so as to feel tired later on, you must watch what you eat as some substances are sleep-inhibiting, you must do away with screens – mobiles and laptops in bed and ensure your bed is for sleep only.
Let me help my Christian friends who may be in the same shoes I was some time back. I used to feel guilty for sleeping. Why? “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.”c After I came across this scripture, I always felt guilty sleeping. A voice in my head will say, “I thought you said you hate poverty, with this your sleep, are you not hugging poverty?” The Message translation didn’t help matters, in fact, it made it more depressing for me, “A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, with poverty as your permanent houseguest!” I’m sure you feel my pain now. However, we must learn to balance the truth, the Bible strongly discourages laziness but on the other hand it also encourages rest. See this scripture, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.”d
I’ve spent more time addressing sleep because that’s where I believe most of us are failing the most. You may even be sleeping but you are not getting quality rest. Let me end by asking a question a teacher asked one time, if Almighty God rested after creating the world, who are you not to rest?
a – a popular snack in Nigeria
b – Proverbs 17:22
c – Proverbs 24:33-34
d – Psalm 127: 1-2