We caught up (and caught some z's) with possibly the world's first nap-time influencer, Alex Shannon (@followthenap).
For those who haven't yet had the pleasure, what is @followthenap all about, and how did it come into being?
@followthenap is an Instagram page that documents my sleep adventures all around the world. The idea itself actually came to me in a dream, but I’ve always been really passionate about quality sleep, particularly as I had a lot of sleep issues as a child.
How do you make a place feel like home while on the road? Or is the point that you're anywhere but home – and loving it?
I love traveling to new places precisely because every experience is completely different. I always want to immerse myself in whatever’s local, so I try not to limit myself by expecting things to be what I’m used to at home. That said, there are a few creature comforts like my favorite PJs, sleep masks, and candles that I bring with me.
When you are enjoying a home base, what does that look like to you?
Generally, it’s all the things that I’ve collected from my travels that make a place feel like my home. I’m pretty minimalist in my design taste, but love having small things that remind me of all the amazing experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have.
What role does clothing play in that journey and your state of mind? Do you make a conscious outfit switch induce a mentality switch?
I think clothing definitely plays a huge role in how you feel, inside and out. Since a lot of us are working from home now, loungewear has become workwear, which I’m all for! When I actually have to dress up a little, I feel even more put-together than before, since my day-to-day reality is mostly sweats and PJs.
As possibly the world's first sleep influencer, how do you actually balance work and free time, when free time and work must often look so similar?
I actually still work full-time so @followthenap is all in my free time. Thankfully I can work from anywhere, which makes things a little easier, but honestly a large portion of my free time is taken up creating content. I definitely underestimated the amount of time and effort it takes, but I enjoy every second of it!
While men have certainly been pursuing luxurious lives for centuries, masculinity has become synonymous with hard work and 'toughness' for many. As someone who has clearly embraced the softer side of life – what does modern masculinity mean to you?
For me, masculinity is about being comfortable with yourself, staying true to yourself, and embracing the elements of being that might be perceived as more feminine or at least, not traditionally masculine. I think having that balance is incredibly important in all aspects of life. It’s also about being mature enough to accept responsibility for yourself, have a level of self-awareness and own up to your mistakes.
What does self-care mean to you, and what role does it play in building a healthier, more modern form of masculinity?
Self care to me simply means allowing yourself the time and space to be your best self, whether that looks like exercise, food, sleep or a full-on spa retreat. We’re bombarded by this idea that we should always be working with no days off and relentless productivity and it’s just not feasible, sustainable, or healthy. Self care isn’t selfish or a luxury, it’s a necessity.