Let’s Talk with Nancy J. Cohen

Summer Siesta

by Nancy J. Cohen

Here in the lazy south, afternoons are good for a short nap for those of us who are lucky enough to work at home. I get up very early to accomplish my writing goals for the day, so after lunch heralds the perfect break for reading or working on book marketing. More often than not, my brain is virtually floating on a cozy raft in our pool, while my eyelids droop with impending slumber. It’s easy to drift into a mental fog when the sun blazes overhead and sizzles the pavement below.

To combat this ennui, sometimes I’ll ingest iced tea or coffee so I can keep going. The energizing caffeine kick gives me a few extra hours of productive work time. I don’t dare sit on the patio, where my limbs seem to melt into the lounge chair, and I can’t get my mind to focus. So afternoons are best spent on pleasure reading, marketing activities, or other household demands. I might rally before dinner, but my plotting brain has already retired for the day by then and so has my ambition along with it.

How do you resist the afternoon doldrums?

Comments

  1. charlene capodice says

    eat light, try to get up early and be finished before 3 pm with whatever work I need to do!

    • Me too. I’m an early riser, and when I’m not recovering from foot surgery, I like to go for a walk before the sun comes up. By 3 or 4pm, my brain is finished for the day and the TV takes over.

  2. Maggie Toussaint says

    A big help for afternoon energy in my case is to eat a large salad for lunch. No bread, and if meat or cheese, then 3 ounces or less of each. I’ve found it’s a good rule of thumb to stop eating before I feel stuffed. I also get up from writing every hour and do several “house laps” that helps get the blood flowing so that I’m not a lump for hours on end. But I’m fond of naps and take them when I can. I wish siestas were part of our culture…

    • Europeans have the right idea for lunch breaks. Here in the U.S., we never have enough time. We’re in a rush to get back to work. You have the right idea to eat light. A heavy meal induces lethargy.

  3. Ha! This is me every day at the day job. But I recently read something about the caffeine nap — you slug down (don’t leisurely sip) a cup of coffee then take a 20 minute (no longer) nap. When you wake up the caffeine will have kicked in, and so you are refreshed for the rest of the day. Obviously I can’t do that at work but I may try it some weekend (that would be the perfect thing to do with Cuban coffee!).

    • Yes, Diane, this makes sense if you can fall asleep right after a cup of coffee. Sometimes I’m so overwhelmingly drowsy that it happens. I’d have a hard time at work in a 9 to 5 job being productive in late afternoon. As a nurse, I worked from 7 to 3 so I got used to early hours.

  4. authorlois says

    If I lived in Florida, I’d probably never leave my air-conditioned house the entire summer. I have a hard enough time dealing with the heat and humidity of NJ summers. I generally spend mornings running errands because it’s cooler in the morning. I write in the afternoon. Around 3pm I grab a cup of coffee to keep me going. Around 4pm I hop on the treadmill for half an hour to give my brain a rest.

    • Sounds as though we are on opposite schedules, Lois. Having grown up in NJ, I remember those hot and humid summers. But at least it cools down in the evenings compared to here. And if I drank coffee at 3pm, I’d be up all night. 2:00 in the afternoon is my limit for caffeine.