TIPS FOR TAPPING INTO YOUR BODY FOR HEIGHTENED PRODUCTIVITY—PRIORITIZING YOUR BODY’S BASIC NEEDS
Welcome back to this series on listening to your body (opposed to capitalist + patriarchal mandates) for creative and productive prowess. For more tips, see Part One—Paying Attention to Cycles and Part Two—Taking Time Off, here. And stay tuned for Part Four—Routines, Rituals + Practices .
TIP # 3. Prioritize Your Body’s Basic Needs
Writing this series on tapping into the body for increased creativity and as an antidote to capitalist pressure on productivity has been a real exercise in walking my talk (and has included a few well-timed slaps in the face).
Last night, after I’d made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, read my son some Harry Potter and gotten him to bed, checked some emails and done a little research, at 9:30 pm I sat down to write this post. I pulled open the document I’d started to remind myself what the topic was for this week.
Oh, I thought. Oh, shit. Prioritize the body’s basic needs over my internalized, pressurized “need” to get stuff done. I started laughing at myself. I was about to stay up late to get this post done. I’ve been going to bed at 9:45 lately (like, on the dot) because for some reason my body has been waking up around 5:30 am, no matter what time I go to bed.
I shut down the computer and I went to bed.
So, another day late, I’m writing this blog post. But, I got a good night’s sleep.
So yes, basic needs. Sleep, eating, exercise, peeing and pooping. This one seems super basic. It is. But it’s also probably the first tip we ignore, we push aside, when things get busy. Literally, I had to re-train myself for several months to get up from whatever I was doing and go pee when I felt the need! I had spent who knows how many years learning and practicing to ignore my body, to the point where even the need to urinate had been silenced by my deafening drive to produce.
This may have begun or continued to worsen ten years ago when I was the first person at my company ever to work there while pregnant (they had to design a company maternity policy because of me)—and my bosses would tease and shame me for how many times a day they saw me going to the bathroom (strategically-placed just past their offices). “Why don’t you just take your computer and set up in there?" they’d ask, laughing.
But really, we’re well-trained from a very young age to eat, rest, sleep, urinate and defecate when and where we’re told, and not when our body needs it. This might seem like a silly or obvious practice, but I find it to be a powerful step to revitalizing and recreating a deep, intuitive relationship with our bodies.
And I really just wish more people would talk about our bodies, all the weird and gross and totally normal things they do and need to do, and how important they are, in general, and to our creativity and productivity specifically. So, I’m just gonna go ahead and talk about urination and defecation all day.
So try this, at least commit to doing it for today: As soon as you hear an alarm from your body—your stomach growls, your throat gets dry, your bladder pulses—stop what you’re doing and respond to it. The email will be waiting when you get back from the bathroom.
Carry snacks with you. Plan your lunch and eat it as soon as you get hungry. (Sometimes we have jobs or schedules that decide for us when we get to take breaks and lunch, if that’s your case, just do your best within those boundaries. Sometimes we have to fight capitalist injunctions and indoctrination in small steps, when and where we can.) Stand up, stretch, move. Regularly. Take baths. Nap when you can. Meditate. Take walks. Breathe. Consider it part of the process, consider it required.
Because a powerful relationship with your body is vital to producing anything, especially something big and creative and new. I highly recommend, when you’re working on a big project, to sleep more, not less, eat more (and as healthy as you can), exercise regularly, have sex +/or masturbate when you desire, drink tons of water, and urinate as often as you damn need.
And no, you do not need to bring your laptop into the bathroom!