Photo Credit howzey
Many of us live our lives like robots; we push our routines and attempt to execute our tasks with rapid precision for long stretches of time. But unlike a robot’s unwavering power source, we neglect a proper boost in energy. Our reserves are replenished by sparse sleep and energy drinks or other sources of high caffeine. We get a welcome boost to push on, but begin to feel the draining effects of our temporary renewals as days go by – or weeks, or months depending on your stamina.
This allows us to function, but beyond that not much can be claimed as lack of sleep directly affects your creativity. Your gathered information is limited to conscious connections that are deprived of the brain power they need to be truly great.
There are times when I know I need to be creative so I will make sure I get a solid sleep the night before. This clears your head and prepares you for the day. Ideally you will do this for every day, but that’s not always realistic.
I have found that energy drinks and caffeine do not help your creativity. They will keep you awake, but will also make it harder to focus. Ultimately, you become a slave to the caffeine as you will develop cravings and need to continue your caffeine fix to ward off the increased fatigue it produces after a very short while. Here is a better way to acquire more energy;
A. Techniques for More Energy:
This is an important source of energy to have – both for normal things and creative activities. If you are motivated by a particular project your are working on, it inspires you to excellence and gives you amazing amounts of energy.
2. Breathing Exercises
Professional vocalists do breathing exercises every day in order to maintain their posture and control of their diaphragm. It has some great side effects though. The average breath cycle is 4 seconds – 1 second inhaling and 3 seconds exhaling. When doing breathing exercises, your body slows down it’s routine and your brain gets more oxygen. This results in a clearer mind and a more relaxed state. Think of it like this; the normal 4 second breath cycle is like living in a bustling city. The deep breathing is like going to the countryside for a break from city life. This break refreshes, reinvigorates, and clears your mind which allows ideas to easily flow through you.
Once in the morning, once in the evening – that’s a great routine for breathing exercises. It only has to take a minute. A simple way to begin is to just slow your breathing by inhaling deeper and exhaling it slowly.
3. Physical exercise
I just recently started working out and I’ve got to tell you how much your energy levels increase. I am doing heavy cardio-related exercises. After two days of doing this, I woke up twice at night at 4:30am fully awake and ready to take on the day. My alarm goes off at 6:30am. Even though I was awake 2 hours earlier (and I went to bed at the same time I usually do) I was more alert and awake throughout the rest of the day. Not only that, I felt great, was more confident, and couldn’t wait to do more cardio to keep the momentum going.
In hindsight, the 2 hour boost was probably my body adapting to the change in routine. It’s been a few weeks since I started my routine now and while I still have a lot more energy during the day than I did before I started a workout routine, I’m not waking up in the middle of the night with lots of energy.
One last note, when you exercise, your body releases endorphins that make you happy and increase your overall outlook to a more positive nature. This is also great for creativity.
Of course, sleep is a great way to get energy. It’s the best source of energy with eating and is certainly not overrated. Here are some ways to get the most out of your sleep and get to sleep faster (maximizing its effectiveness).
B. Techniques for Better Sleep
1. Final Thoughts for the Day
You should make a list or write down the things that you are thinking about before you settle down for the day. This includes things you need to do tomorrow and aspirations you have that are on your mind. This gives you a sense of closure for the day and allows you to let go of your thoughts easier. Don’t worry, your subconscious mind will still hold on to those problems it needs to fix and will probably give you a solution in the morning.
You should also do this for work. In the last five minutes of the day, I take a second and write a list of everything I need to do for tomorrow. That way I’m not trying to remember it when I’m home. You can leave work without carrying a burden of worry with you.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of not having to remember everything. This uses precious brain resources during relaxation time and prevents you from truly unwinding and recuperating.
2. Establish a Routine
If you have a regular ritual for bedtime (ie, shower, brush teeth, read, then go to bed) you will have an easier time falling asleep faster. It is Pavlov’s Theory in classical conditioning – you will anticipate the end of a routine and your body will prepare for it.
3. Prepare for Sleep
In a similar manner, telling yourself that it is time for sleep will trigger your body to kick in its routine for bed. It’s like telling children that it’s almost time for bed; after getting a warning and knowing lights out is imminent they are more apt to listen when the time comes.
4. Get Enough to Eat
Make sure you get enough to eat from your last meal, but don’t be stuffed when you lay down to sleep. In addition to developing acid reflux and feeling bloated, this will also disrupt your sleep cycle.
You are not a robot – you are much better. Get your sleep and you will find yourself refreshed and full of creative solutions. Don’t rely on substitutes like energy drinks. That may keep you awake, but it won’t do anything to keep you focused.