lay energy under your foundation

I was writing this post in my head during my acupuncture treatment. There are very large downsides to that, not the least of which is that, after a hot afternoon running errands, I’m having trouble connecting back to “there.” But with some cleansing breaths, some shoulder rolls, and a glass of ice water, maybe I can reach it.

The folks writing The Power of Full Engagement (which includes the author of WnotW) spend chapters expounding how energy—having enough physical energy—is crucial for being engaged and intentional with your life. The PFE crew is also big on habits as another step toward engagement, with habits that build your energy as the starting place.

I want to jump on that bandwagon. Hard. With both feet, and up & down a few times, too. As of this summer, I am living out the night-and-day difference that having enough energy makes.

This is not, for me, a habit-thing especially. This is a medical thing. Around 2007 I stopped sleeping from one end of the night to the other. By 2009 I was waking at least twice a night, and frequently staying awake more than half an hour each time. I was dragging so low that I asked my sweetie if I was showing any signs of clinical depression, because the last time I had that little initiative I ended up on Zoloft. (Mercifully, the answer was no.)

So “I will e’splain. No, there is too much; I sum up.” Beginning in December and culminating in May, I’ve been working with my medical practitioners to figure out what’s going on (which we haven’t really) and work out how to bring me back to sleeping. We’ve got it—I’m now getting 7 or 8 hours in a row. I feel oh so much better.

June was when everything came together. And June is when I sat down and articulated… oh, all sorts of internal clarifying and focus. Including the Habit Project. Coincidence? I think not. I think that

until you get enough sleep, no habit or practice will stick.

Sleep is the foundation under all foundations. And sleep is the thing that moms frequently have trouble getting enough of. (Just one more load of laundry tonight, that’s all!)

But sleep is just the beginning!

I’ve also observed, since June, that exercise boosts my energy exponentially. See, in summer I have the opportunity to work with a swim coach each morning at the pool three blocks from my house. Having spent my formative (jr. high & high school) years on swim teams, falling in the water and being told what to do is the easiest form of exercise I know. Deep, deep grooves in my brain belong to swimming laps. So to have this gift—no driving, no packing to dress at the gym… I take advantage of it as much as I can.

Nowadays after I swim, I bounce. Or glow, according to my ob-gyn at my checkup today. I definitely have focus and energy galore to embrace my projects on top of my usual responsibilities.

It’s so marked that I’m already casting my mind forward to figure out how to keep swimming after the neighborhood pool closes in October.

So: exercise! It’s not just healthier, it’s happier.

But sleep first.

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