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Murphy family at the Alamo in San Antonio, TX (with my wife and our daughter)

Murphy family at the Alamo in San Antonio, TX (with my wife and our daughter)

Writing about some of the hardest things for me: 1) rest & relaxation (R&R) and 2) the importance of getting away, escaping even if it is just for a weekend.

Rest and relaxation is very difficult for us type A personalities, we don’t like to slow down and stop unless we are sleep-deprived and/or sick or injured. But I’ve learned I have to defy my normal tendencies or the sleep deprivation becomes chronic and perpetual. I have to act as if I were a type B personality and slow down. How many hours of sleep do you think you need? I need at least 5-7. How many hours of sleep are you actually getting? For me, less than I need.

Here are a few of Murphy’s Rules of R&R that I’m working on now:
First rule: go to bed as early as possible. I’m an early bird so this is my natural tendency to crash early into bed.

Second rule: Awaken as early as possible (if you obeyed rule #1, this will be easier). Rise from bed like a rocket (or imagine you are a rocket). Don’t press the snooze alarm. Drink some water. Have a snack. Drink some coffee. Put on your running clothes. Go running.

Third rule: If you disobeyed rule #1 and stayed up too late due to work, family, travel, etc., you will sometimes need a nap. Take it while you can before your window of opportunity slams shut.

Fourth: Keep your nap(s) to an hour or less if possible.

Fifth: Sometimes your body tells you that you should sleep but really you just need to move a little. Walk slowly, walk around the block, go outside and get a breath of fresh air. Sitting too long creates this mistaken impression that you are about to fall asleep (or wish you could).

Sixth: If you don’t have time to nap, try to take a 5-15 min. break from whatever you are doing.

Seventh: Take walking lunches/walking breaks during the day. Count those steps.

Eighth: Change up your routine. Read one chapter of a book. It will take your mind off everything else. The adventures in the book might just wear you out enough to sleep normally.

Ninth: Stop drinking caffeinated coffee after dinner. Drink water or tea instead. You’ll thank me later.

Tenth: Limit alcohol use late in evening before bed, it can wake you up earlier than you are intending.

Getting away: Last weekend we traveled to San Antonio, Texas for our godchild’s confirmation whom we had not seen in many years. We really needed to get away. Life gets hectic, crazy, unpredictable, and stressful. If we don’t do something about all that stress, we bottle it up and tend to explode. Traveling changes all that. It forces you to see new horizons, new views, new vistas, new adventures for your life. It refreshes your heart, mind, and soul. It allows you to reconnect with your family and old or new friends. It allows you to recharge your batteries and not be consumed by workplace and family stresses at home. Have some serious family fun! Try to exercise on vacation, too. Make getting away a significant priority, it’s extremely important. You need to vacate your house and go on vacation! When was the last time you got away for a weekend or more? How about for a week or more?

Mission-style bells we saw on the Riverwalk during a Riverwalk boat ride in San Antonio, Texas

Mission-style bells we saw on the Riverwalk during a Riverwalk boat ride in San Antonio, Texas