. . . I remember reading on road signs between London and the South West of England. The implication is that it’s better to take a break and refresh yourself than keep on the road and risk an accident.
Recently, I’ve been thinking how tiredness can also kill courtesy. Short tempers, tetchiness and snapping back at people are often a sign that we are tired and not coping well. I’ve noticed this about myself recently as circumstances have reduced the time I have had to refresh my energies. It’s one of those things that happens: business, family, community commitments coincide to make evenings and weekends busier than is healthy. Thinking about this has meant that I have been aware of being tired and made a big effort not to be snappy.
When someone asks us a question or speaks to us, why shouldn’t they receive a polite response just because we are over-tired? When we do snap back, it can anger or upset another person very unfairly. We pile on to them the effects of our pressure, tension and anxiety to produce a hostile atmosphere.
This afternoon I was lucky to get a few spare hours when a community event ended early. I came home and thought about all the things I had to do, but then I took the unusual step of having a nap. The result is that I not only feel more rested but feel better for knowing that I am catching up on the rest I need. Resting and recharging our batteries is important, but not always easy, especially when you have a long list of things that need doing yesterday.
Sometimes it’s worth slowing down so we don’t kill courtesy and sour our relationships with our colleagues, friends and family . . . and, indeed, don’t risk killing ourselves.