One morning, after breakfast, I was feeling unusually weary, so I curled up for a nap.
I was home alone – all my noisy boys had left for work and school.
I did have lots of lovely work to do, but nothing that was too pressing or urgent.
So I was in the happy position of being able to take a nap, just because I felt like it.
One of my favourite perks of being self-employed.
But I realised that even though I’ve work hard for many years to create the freedom and flexibility of my schedule, even though I’ve made my share of sacrifices to live and work on my own terms – I still felt guilty…
Was it lazy?
Was it fair that I could take a nap while the rest of the world was busy working?
And the Book Angels must have heard my cry, because shortly after that day I was ‘mysteriously’ led to Rest – the soul-soothing book by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.
I LOVE this book.
It’s definitely one of my favourite reads of this year.
My copy is covered in notes and excited underlinings and happy smiley faces.
On nearly every page, I read something that affirmed what I’d always believed at some level;
that rest, self-care, relaxation, play – all the things we do after work – are actually powerful activities that can help our work.
Especially if you’re a fellow creative type.
The book has many great insights into creativity and rest, which is such good news for us self care advocates.
For example, I loved this snippet so much that I turned it into a pinnable quote:
Here’s one of my other favourite snippets from the book – and a powerful argument for balancing our work lives with some vital – and highly creative – self-care:
“Rest is not work’s adversary.
Rest is work’s partner.
They complement and complete each other.
Further, you cannot work well without resting well.
Some of history’s most creative people, people whose achievements in art and science and literature are legendary, took rest very seriously.
They found that in order to realize their ambitions, to do the kind of work they wanted to, they needed rest.
The right kinds of rest would restore their energy while allowing their muse, that mysterious part of their minds that helps drive the creative process, to keep going.”
And Alex has this to share on the power of naps;
“Sleep scientists have found that even a short nap can be effective in recharging your mental batteries.
Naps can even provide an opportunity to have new ideas.
Their work shows that you can learn to time your nap to increase the creative boost that it provides, make it more physically restorative, or probe the traffic between the conscious mind and the unconscious.
Napping, in other words, turns out to be a skill.”
These insights are so good to hear, as I’ve long been a fan of napping, both for self-care benefits and creative boosts.
I get some of my best ideas in that lovely, woozy state between waking and sleeping.
Or I’ll wake up with an obvious solution to what had been puzzling me pre-nap.
Napping really is a powerful muse-magnet!
Once I realised how much my muse loves to join me at nap-time, I got strategic about my napping and now I often use it as a way of accessing inspiration or sparking creative insights.
They’ve become a reliable tool for receiving intriguing new ideas or a fresh way of looking at things.
As well as the lovely ahas though, we are all so much more productive when we’re well-rested and recharged!
Making that so-called down-time actually time well spent.
(So much so that we devote an entire module to Productive Resting over in The Muse Spa.)
So it was a joy to discover in Rest the extensive science that supports a healthier work/life balance, and so many of Alex’s insights are such a welcome and refreshing approach to living and our quality of life.
And now, in the name of wellness and creativity (two of my favourite things) – I am a proud Creative Napper.
And thanks to Alex and this wonderful book – I get to enjoy my naps, guilt-free.
So I highly recommend Rest, as a much-needed counter to the overwork that seems to be the norm these days.
It really is an inspiring, enlightening and soul-soothing read.
I also highly recommend naps as a creative tool!
The next time you’re feeling sleepy or jaded or uninspired, and you can spare a little time to yourself, why not sample for yourself the creative power of naps and a spot of productive R&R?
And in case your muse is anything like mine – keep your notebook close by.
PS I don’t think my cat Bo needs any convincing – she is Queen of Naps.
(I think cats could teach us quite a bit about doing life well…)
Book links : Affiliate Disclosure
I am an Amazon Associate. All Amazon links are affiliate links.
Purchases via these links help to support this blog and keep it ad-free - at no cost to you.
I only endorse and recommend products and services that I have experienced myself and that I heartily recommend.
• • •
• • •