An Argument for Naps and Slacking Off
It's storytime, dear readers.
I moved to Chicago last week, and it's been insane.
My life has been a blur of delivery schedules, frantic runs to IKEA, and one very chaotic morning on which I taught myself how the train system works (it's called the "L" here and it is terrifying).
Amidst a cross country move, I nearly lost it trying to keep up with my fitness regime, studying for grad school placement exams, working, and (of course) daily practice. The last ten days have barely registered. My body's blood to coffee ratio has gone haywire, and yesterday, I swore I could smell color.
So, as the CEO of my whole entire life, I have made an executive decision to redefine myself as a bit of a slacker. Let me explain;
If you're like me, you are a perfectionist. You might have a tendency to over-commit yourself, create impossible goals, and eat your feelings when you inevitably fail to reach them.
It's even more noticeable in the practice room. Instead of working new rep into your body, you like to dive into it headfirst and beat yourself up for not singing it perfectly. Even though it's the first time you've sung it. Ever.
Now I'm not one to tell you what to do, dear reader — but how are you feeling, really? Do you love this shit? Are you high right now? If Drake were here, would he be proud of you, or would he beg you to take a nap?
Listen, I'm losing track of my point here. My point is that you, me, and so many other creatives before you, need to slack off. Just a little bit. Because here's the thing: you are never going to feel like you're doing enough when you keep telling yourself that you could be doing more. Does that make sense? I'll say it again.
Bestie, you're doing too much.
For crying out loud, it's hot girl summer in post-industrialist America. I promise you do not have to suffer for your art. In fact, you have the option to simply put in the work you have deemed necessary for your tasks, and then stop. It's wild, I know, but I see you trying to "accomplish" your way out of your feelings of inadequacy, and I'm here to tell you it's not going to work.
Now, I'm not saying don't do the work and then feel entitled to your desired outcome. What I'm saying is, if you have a goal and a general idea of how to achieve it, don't let your fears or shame hold you back.
I've spent so much time in the last month judging myself for wanting to rest, for wanting to pause. I was afraid that I would never want to work again if I did. I was afraid I would lose everything I was working towards if I wasn't working for it every second of every day.
Thankfully, life is not that black and white. Gone are the days of rigid discipline and sadistic practice sessions. You are allowed to take a break, and you are allowed to enjoy it without guilt.
It seems counterintuitive, I know, but in my experience, indulging in true, mindful rest has allowed me to accomplish so much more, and actually enjoy the results of my work. Plus, I feel great and my skin cleared up.
So, there you have it. Summer is crazy for everyone, and singers are no exception. Do less. Take naps. Reorganize your priorities if you need to, and remember; hot girls (and boys and theys and all other human people) slack off. Just a little bit.
- Camden McLean