At the end of the week — or even the end of a Monday — you are depleted. You’ve given your all, physically and emotionally. You can’t imagine thinking about one more creative solution or doing one more chore. How will you do it all again tomorrow?
When you do work you love and engage in a purposeful life, it’s hard to recognize when it’s time to stop. While there is a big difference in the tired you feel after working a soul sucking job and doing work that makes your heart sing, you are tired either way.
Instead of waiting until something’s gotta give, recharge on a regular basis. By carving out this time, you will be more creative, productive and happy and less grumpy, blocked and miserable to be around.
Recharging and refocusing allows you to generate creative energy.
Take a Nap
The longer you’re awake, the more difficult it is for your brain to store new information, whether it’s names and faces, the details of a conversation, or your grocery list. An afternoon nap seems to refresh this short-term memory and open your mind for new information, researchers found. This makes sense to me. I am much sharper in the morning and tend to get a little fuzzy towards the end of the day when it comes to processing new material.
In the study, the researchers asked 39 college students to learn a series of new names and faces at noon and match the faces and names a few minutes later. They then performed the same test at 6 p.m. the same day. A group of students who took a 90-minute afternoon nap at 2 p.m. performed better than non-napping students, who had a serious decline in their memory test scores.
“Why? The part of your brain where short-term information and memories are stored is a bit like your email inbox, says the study’s lead author, Matthew P. Walker, the head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. “You can only receive so many emails before your inbox starts to bounce,” he says. “When you sleep, essentially what you may be doing is clearing out that inbox to another folder, so you have a refreshed capacity to receive new emails.”
Move every day
The best way to stimulate creative ideas is to move. Take a walk, go to a yoga class, or jump in a pool every day. Taking 10-60 minutes to disengage from your work and get your heart rate up will actually save you time. You’ll spend less time procrastinating and more time creating. Have a small notebook and pencil nearby while you are exercising, and get ready for the ideas to flow.
You are so wrapped up in your work and your life that when you step away and focus on someone else, you will naturally relax and take yourself less seriously. All the little things that cause stress and anxiety will become less important when you give and help someone else. Give your time, talent and treasure to benefit a worthy organization or individual. They benefit from your gift and your creativity will soar.
Don’t wait until you crash and burn. Instead, intentionally add these healthy habits into your daily life. By simply directing your energy to napping, moving and giving, you will benefit in more ways than one. Not only will you experience more creativity, but better health as well.
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