Day 3: Wake Up Sleepy Head

Okay, now that we’ve started the process of letting go of “emotional baggage” that could be putting the brakes on our creative life, and explored the meaning of a “creative life” in our own lives… it’s time to prepare ourselves to live the best creative life we possibly can. 

These initial steps help to build the foundation for our creative life, enabling us to become aware of the abundance of creative possibilities that surround us and to fully tap into our creative abilities.

Genesis 1:27
“So God created people in His own image;
God patterned them after Himself;
Male and female He created them.”  

We are all created in God’s image, so it’s wonderful news to acknowledge that all of us have an inherent ability to create and be creative. With such a natural and beautiful gift in our lives that we can freely explore, fine tune and play with to our heart’s content, why would anyone want to approach achieving their best creative life possible without all their “thrusters on”?

That’s exactly what a lot of us do.  We over commit until our brains are numb, burn the candle at both ends and deprive our bodies of the rest it needs by staying up to greet the sunrise. With our bodies and minds regularly running on fumes, how can we expect to perform at our “super-star best”.

Why is it that cats don’t have any problems sleeping?
And they look so adorable while they sleep the afternoon away.

And they can sleep just about anywhere and in any position.

Dogs are the same way, though I was unable to get a photo of my beautiful girlie Border Collie, Pinny. As soon as I move an inch, she quickly wakes up and snaps to action!

Okay, this is the point where I need to fess’ up to something, and if my hubby was awake right now, he’d be standing behind me reading this, shaking his head and waiting patiently for the confession. Okay, okay. Here goes nothing…  “I’m an abuser of sleep deprivation!” There I said it, though its not much of a secret.

This step is a “really” hard one for me personally.  I come from a family of sleep deprivation abusers.  In my teen years, I remember frequent late nights watching old movies, playing board games, talking and laughing with my siblings and mom (dad worked nights).  It was such great fun.  I even had a late night job in high school where I’d go in after 10PM (or later), get a couple of hours of sleep then head off to school. It was just a normal way of life for us.  Several years later, I still fall into this old habit, though my body rebels much more frequently than it used to.

Now I could make the excuse that it’s hereditary, but somehow I really don’t think anyone’s going to believe me. And I know a lot of you are in the same boat I am. So despite my fault, I will be the first to admit…  in order to realize our best possible creative life, we must make certain that our body and mind receives the rest it needs to function at its best. Period.

Yes, I agree… this step is a challenging one, especially with the multitude of demands on us these days constantly gnawing away at our schedules. But with the quality of our creative life at stake, we must address it.

Most of us are well aware of the effects of sleep deprivation; however, I feel it’s critical to do a quick review (from a creative point of view) so it’s fresh on our minds.

Effects of Being tired:

  • Become easily agitated and cranky with others; impatient and less open to new ideas and constructive criticism
  • Have difficulty in problem-solving and our ability to think clearly is diminished because our brain function is much slower and recall is sub-optimal
  • Motivation is diminished
  • Negatively impacts our ability to fully participate in activities we enjoy and that require sustained attention (painting, watching a movie or a stage play, watching an instructional DVD on a creative topic, attending a workshop or class, etc.)
  • Can weaken our system and make us vulnerable to illness and disease; experience more headaches; when we don’t feel well, it’s next to impossible to put in your best effort
  • Motor skills can be impaired, not a good thing when you’re working with tools or trying to create something with delicate details
  • Memory is diminished
  • Can cause us to over compensate by overeating (because our circulatory function is diminished our body tries to get things back on track again); we also reach for stimulants, such as coffee or caffeinated sodas to perk ourselves up, creating a vicious cycle for our systems… we quickly peak then crash, then do it all over again.
    • FYI – caffeine and creative arts do not mix well.  It makes you jittery with shakey hands.  It may be great in some forms of dance, but does not really work for anything involving delicate tools or brushes

I’ll wrap up my list with this last thought…

There is truth to the old saying, “get your beauty sleep”.  Lack of sleep has a noticeably negative impact on how we look – it shows on your face.  Hide the camera please.

How do we begin to improve the error of our ways?  For me, it’s going to have to be in baby steps.  My motivation… if I’m able to create beauty in my life now, just imagine the possibilities for my creative life when I actually get some sleep.  Think about it.

Steps to a Better Night’s Sleep:

  • Stretch or do some relaxation techniques – just try to relax and wind down before slipping into bed
  • Save action, horror or intensely thought provoking movies for earlier in the day.  These types of movies stimulate your brain and watching them even a couple of hours before going to bed can make it difficult to fall asleep
  • Turn off the computer a few hours before you plan to go to bed, also.  Anything that requires you to problem-solve or work your mind can cause problems with sleep
  • Avoid going to bed angry or upset
  • Try to eat your final meal for the day a couple of hours before going to bed.  Eating requires your system to work to process the food in your stomach, than in your bloodstream, etc.  Your entire body needs to “rest” to get quality sleep
  • Prior to slipping under the covers, make sure your room is as dark and quiet as it can be
  • Read the bible and prayer before laying down to sleep

God has instructed us to honor him by taking care of our bodies.  I for one am going to try to turn this around for myself, with God’s help, and get better sleep. How about you?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”

 

 Go to the next post in my series: Day 4: Get Moving 

Many blessings,

 

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