by Eric Jude Cortes
You’ve probably seen my type at work – I am that workaholic who remains almost annoyingly happy. I may be holding on to a binder full of lessons or stacks and homework, but I will find a way to give you a spirited pat on the back with a spirited greeting and I will always remember your name. Many days I am teaching high school kids from seven in the morning until nine at night and I still will walk out of the building either doing a dance or high-fiving my charges. If you’d like to learn my secret, I’d like to introduce you to my friend the siesta. The siesta is so valuable that it should be introduced into the United States and maybe even codified into law.
During a siesta, which occurs in many Spanish and Latin American cities, for an about an hour businesses shut down and people take a nap. More than a traditional American lunch break, which varies depending on the individual and job, Hispanic siestas are traditionally at one time in the city and involve most businesses. Having been in Cartagena, Colombia and experiencing city-wide siestas first hand, I found it to be a beautiful sight to see people taking naps and experiencing quiet time after their lunch, as opposed to hastily swallowing something and then rushing back to the daily grind.
One might make the argument that taking time off for a siesta might hurt businesses, but much evidence proves otherwise. Institutions no less reputable than NASA and Harvard University have conducted studies that proven that power naps (a trendier term for siestas) actually increase productivity. Studies have also pointed to the myriad of medical benefits of taking a siesta, including lowering high blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease and improving people’s mood.
If you are still not convinced, there are many successful people (in addition to myself) who were known for taking siestas. According to the website, siesta awareness, noted siesta-takers include Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon Bonaparte and Bill Clinton. The painter of the Mona Lisa, the victor of Austerlitz, and Slick Willy can’t be wrong.
So join me, actually use your lunch break and ignore the work, ignore the boss, find someplace quiet and take a siesta. If you can’t find a quiet place, use earplugs, put your head on your desk, take deep peaceful breaths and drift away. If you have the time, write a note to your local politician asking that siestas be made law. Remind them that you work to live and don’t live to work. I’ve been taking siestas for years and I couldn’t be happier.
To learn more about Eric, randomly bump into him on the street and politely ask him some questions.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.