Tapping into Flow
I’ve recently been sharing about the state of flow and my journey discover it’s triggers. For those of you reading about flow for the first time you can check out my previous post here and read up on Jamie Wheal at the Flow Genome Project, an interdisciplinary organization dedicated to mapping the deep science of ultimate human performance otherwise known as flow.
Jamie Wheal explains in this article how sufficient sleep is foundational for flow. Extreme sport athletes who have been found to regularly tap into flow have complete control over their environment when not engaged in their sport. They optimally use their time away from their sport, preparing for it.
Not An Olympic Athlete
As a stay at home mom I’m not trying to break records or win medals. I’m just aiming to live happier… fuller. With an active volunteer life, a now brimming summer vegetable garden, a rambunctious son, summer social life and growing blog, life is poppin! I live in the Midwest and it seems with the longer summer days, I pack more into my days than any other time of the year. Many nights I fall into bed with every body part aching with tiredness, particularly my feet and as a result many mornings the best self care is sleeping in.
Settling for Good When Optimal is Out of Reach
At best, when I have slept in and the heavens align making my son sleep later than usual, ensuring I complete my power routine, I am zinging from having been in that precious state of flow before I dive into my day. Most summer days though, I am content just feeling well rested and getting some self care in without a whiff of my own self induced morning flow.
Biggest Obstacle to Flow
The number one obstacle to having more of this self induced morning flow that comes up consistently, hands down, is getting enough sleep. Getting up early, tired or not, will happen out of habit and I will go through my own self care activities as easily as brushing my teeth. Yet tapping into that flow most regularly, I realize, depends most heavily on the quality of my sleep. Some of the challenges to good sleep are as follows.
Co-sleeping is important to me as an attachment parent. There are a variety of ways to follow the attachment principles, nothing is set in stone. Some parents skip this principle entirely, others decide to do it until a certain age and some let the child take the lead determining when the co-sleeping period is done. We are practicing the last option. If I was working outside of the home it would probably be very different. That said it is nonetheless a commitment that definitely affects my sleep.
The first year of my son’s life was a big blur (thank goodness for pictures!) due to such little intermittent sleep. Around the age of 1 he started to sleep 5 hours in one stretch instead of 4 broken up hours. The difference in my body having that longer stretch of uninterrupted sleep was like night and day. When he started sleeping 10 hours I started waking up earlier to more deliberately practice self care.
Now he is 5 and when we let him have his periodical, highly coveted, sleepovers at a dear friend’s house, I definitely sleep deeper. Having him next to me is as if my body is always “on” and aware of him, making my sleep lighter. Things like naturally waking up to see his blanket completely off him to pull the covers over him, knowing that when cold he sleeps less. When sick, I wake up to the warmer than usual body heat radiating from him to attend to him. When he has nightmares I will hear him and come close to him to rub his head and hold his hand to gently interrupt the dream. All this makes my sleep lighter and affects how early I am able to get up.
I will add, when I am bare bones tired as heck and I absolutely have to be up early the next day I will put earplugs in my ears and pillows between my son and I to make sure I get that deep sleep I need. It makes a huge difference.
Fevers, flu’s, colds, food poisoning or surgical procedures. When I get sick, anyone in the family gets sick (like I mentioned above) or a tooth needs to be pulled like mine was a few days back, sleep is definitely not optimal.
Summer picnics, holidays, weddings, graduation parties, birthday parties etc. all for the most part end late. That said, showing up for important events for those I love or just meeting up to be with each other is also a necessary act of self care. These very relationships are many times a source of flow as well.
When visiting loved ones out of town we are basically on their schedules. The longer it has been since I have seen them and the more dear they are to me, the more I’m willing to sleep less to be able to catch up.
Let’s just be honest, they’re long, brutal and dark for the most part. Bodies need more sleep at those times.
Self Care in Giving to Others
These are all challenges for me in my journey to better quality sleep. If you notice most of these are based on the people around me. It is a delicate balance between giving to myself to be my best and giving to those I love to be my best.
I will speak more on this in my next post. Until then how is your sleep life? I’d love to know. If you like this post don’t forget to like and share, thanks for stopping by!