With Lupus, a Power Nap Helps You to Maximize Your Day

Shanelle Gabriel avatar

by Shanelle Gabriel |

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What others call “overdoing it” I call “maximizing the hours of the day.” One example is this past weekend, for which my Saturday was scheduled to go like this:

7:30 a.m. – Walk for Lupus in Manhattan
9:30 a.m. – Perform at a conference at Fordham University in Manhattan
12:30 p.m. – Volunteer at my sorority’s prom dress giveaway event in Brooklyn
5:30 p.m. – Hear Harry Belafonte speak at Hostos Community College in the Bronx
9:00 p.m. – Grab dinner with my homegirls in Brooklyn

Yes, y’all. I was about to visit almost all of the boroughs of NYC in the space of six hours. I planned on stopping by the Walk for Lupus early in the morning to show support, shake hands, kiss babies, all of that. My alarm at 5:30 a.m. alerted me to a dull achiness, so I slept in a bit more, missing the walk.

However, I was still scheduled to perform at the New York Urban League Young Professionals Conference. I dragged myself out of bed, definitely having a flare, but alas, the show must go on. I drove there, sat in the auditorium waiting to perform my mix of singing and spoken word while ignoring the waves of pain washing over me. I got up on the stage and performed like nothing was wrong. I enjoyed the rest of the conference until I realized that it was time to head back to Brooklyn to volunteer — a whole hour and 15 minutes away by car.

Just a block from the university I felt my chest tightening. I paused and realized how loca I was for packing my schedule like this. So, I walked back to the college, sat my behind down, and got some lunch (oh yeah, I only had an apple and my meds that morning), and afterward took a power nap in my car. I did get to see Harry Belafonte and grab dinner with my girls. And the fact is, that nap made it all happen.

There are times I try to tell my lupus to just go along with my schedule. I felt terribly guilty missing volunteering with my sorority sisters, especially when I saw all the cute pink and green photos afterward on Instagram. It’s beyond frustrating to have to cancel or change plans. You end up feeling like a flake, worry that no one will invite you again, or that people think you just didn’t care enough to be there.

But it’s important to build moments of rest and recovery into busy seasons. If you know you have a few big things coming up, go to bed early the night before, allot at least an hour or two for a midday power nap, and make sure you take it lightly the next day.

Don’t feel guilty for making yourself a priority — if you end up flaring yourself up into a hospital visit, you won’t be able to be there for anyone! Rest and recovery are key elements to be programmed into your day. Remembering that will help you to keep from overdoing it and allow you to maximize your body’s limits appropriately.


Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.