You may have heard about self care and how important it is to our lives. But you may not realize that it is essential for the creative mind to do it’s best work.
If you have ever felt like you were in a creative slump, you are not alone. And it’s not your fault!
It’s hard to prioritize self care when we are busy and stressed. Between jobs and kids and hobbies, we have a tendency to put ourselves and our own needs to the side.
However, creative entrepreneurs need to take care of themselves for their mental and physical health if they want to do their best creative work. Practicing regular self care may feel like something extra that you have to squeeze into your schedule, but regular practice can actually help you invoke inspiration, stay focused, and use your time more efficiently.
These are my top tips for practicing self care for creatives like you, so you can unlock your best creative self.
What is Self Care?
First, let’s talk about what I mean by self care.
Self care is the act of deliberately engaging in activities to improve your mental, emotional, or physical health.
It’s that simple!
Self care does not have to be expensive or time-consuming, although it can be if that is what you choose to make it. It just has to be intentional.
Why is self care so important?
So, why is self care so important? Especially for creative minds? Here are a few reasons:
Self care helps you recharge.
We all deal with daily stress. Those stressful moments deplete us of our time, energy, and motivation. Unfortunately, many of the things causing this stress in our lives are unavoidable – kids, jobs, deadlines, unexpected expenses, etc.
Stress is part of life. But the buildup of these stressful moments will deplete your creative energy.
Fortunately, practicing intentional self care helps to recharge your battery so you can keep up with everything life demands of you. It’s just another line of defense against stress, anxiety, and depression.
Self care helps you work.
Self Care is especially important for creative individuals because we often work through our feelings.
As creatives, we display our emotions on canvas and page in order to communicate and impact the rest of the world. That’s one of the most amazing things about being a creative individual.
But what happens when you are mentally, physically, or emotionally depleted? When stress has drained the energy out of you, you have to fight your own emotional state just to get anything accomplished.
How can you paint an artwork that portrays serenity when you are in a state of anxiety?
How can you write a poem full of love and devotion when you are in a state of bitterness?
Or design an office space for ultimate focus when you are in a state of constant distraction?
These emotions are normal and will come up from time to time regardless of your own wishes. But regular self-care can make a big difference in your ability to handle and navigate each emotional state.
Self Care empowers you.
When your emotional battery regularly recharged through self care, you are better empowered to push through or even change your emotional state completely.
Of course, this empowered state requires a regular self care practice. You cannot focus on taking care of yourself one day out of the year and expect this to sustain you.
Instead, incorporate self care into your daily routine to intentionally “fill your own cup” and you will see amazing benefits. When your cup is full, you will be better prepared to accomplish your goals and weather the curveballs life throws at you.
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How To Practice Self Care
There are as many ways to practice self care as there are people on this planet. Only you can find the self care routine that is best for you. However, I can give you some direction on what to try, and what techniques others have found helpful.
Remember, self care does not have to be something you spend a lot of time or money on. It just has to be intentional, and it has to be something that recharges you rather than depletes you.
The simple act of putting yourself to bed an hour earlier so that you feel well rested the next day can be a powerful act of self care.
To one person, a weekly massage might be the perfect way to relax, but to someone else, the stress of paying for that weekly massage might make it more destructive to their well-being than helpful.
It’s best to try different avenues of self care and see what works best for you.
Self Care Techniques for Creatives:
I have tried many things in my own self care routine over the years. Some of them didn’t work out the way I planned, and so I got rid of them. Others, I have found, make a big difference in my ability to control my anxiety and focus on the things that are important in my life.
Self care for creatives sometimes looks different from self care for the average person. Below are several common practices that many creative entrepreneurs swear by. I recommend giving a few of these a try to see how they work for you.
1. Regular Exercise
Many of us overlook the benefits of exercising regularly because we are more focused on the extra time and energy we think it takes than the benefits we could get from it. We think we have to push ourselves hard to make it worth our time.
This is a mistake.
Forcing yourself to run a mile or lift 200 lbs may be too much. Your daily or weekly exercise routine should energize you, not leave you feeling more stressed out.
If you WANT to go spend an hour at the gym, then by all means do just that. But if you are like many of us who feel that exercise is an overwhelming concept, start small.
Take a 10-minute walk in the morning before work. Do 15 minutes of yoga on your lunch break. Take the stairs instead of the elevator every day. Small exercise sessions throughout the day can be a powerful boost to your health and creativity.
Journaling is perhaps the most common self care practice among creative individuals. Famous creatives such as Tim Ferris and Emma Watson laud the mental and emotional benefits of getting their thoughts out on the page.
In The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, she talks about the practice of writing “Morning Pages” to help clear her mind and ready herself for the day. Hard-core journalers often suggest journaling for a specified period of time every day.
I have found a less restrictive approach works best in my own life. When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I simply sit and brain-dump until my mind feels more calm.
However you choose to log your thoughts, I recommend keeping a journal for at least a few days to see if this practice helps you.
Meditation is another practice praised around the world. Many successful individuals incorporate meditation into their daily lives, including Jennifer Aniston and Oprah.
The benefits of meditation are numerous, from increasing focus to reducing anxiety. Many individuals even credit their meditation practice for bringing them an overall sense of happiness and well-being.
Try adding a five or ten-minute meditation practice to your daily routine for a couple of weeks and see how you feel afterwards.
Meditation is harder than it looks and takes practice to get good at it. Fortunately, there are tons of free apps that will guide you through timed meditation. Once you get the hang of it, meditation just might be the thing that gives you the stress relief and creative boost you are looking for.
4. Take Care of Your Body
It sounds obvious, but many of us forget to do the things we know we should be doing. Drink enough water throughout the day. Get enough sleep. Take your supplements.
These things are simple to do, but they easily fall by the wayside when the stress piles up in our lives. One way to remind yourself to incorporate these little actions into your daily life is to use a habit tracker.
I have an app on my phone that sends me a reminder to take my allergy drops three times a day. Without this reminder, I get easily distracted and often forget to take them. Set yourself up to give your body the things it needs so you can be at your best every day.
5. Treat Yo-Self (within reason)
Sometimes self care is an extra thing that you add to your day. Taking the time to get your hair and nails done can do wonders for your self-confidence. Taking a bubble bath or extra-long shower can give you a few minutes of calm. (Bonus points if you meditate in that shower!).
These little moments are important to reminding your subconscious mind that you are worth the extra effort.
Just be careful not to go overboard on this one. Using self care as an excuse to justify things you know aren’t in your best interest – ei. dropping 3 extra scoops of ice cream in your bowl, or maxing out your credit card on things you know you don’t need – is NOT actually self care. Those behaviors will only cause you more stress in the long run.
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More Ideas on Self Care for Creatives
Above are my top 5 recommendations for regular self care. However, there are so many ways to incorporate a self care practice into your life. In case you are still unsure of what activities you can add to your own life,
here are a few more quick suggestions for you:
- Give yourself a “crappy work day” – allow yourself to try new things and make “bad” work just for the sake of creating. No judgment, no perfection, no pressure. Just make stuff.
- Take a walk outside, preferably in a garden or somewhere close to nature
- Try a new, fun way to get your body moving, like a dance class, or get a membership at a trampoline park.
- Treat yourself to a spa day – in an actual spa, or at home
- Eat good food. Eat food that will nourish your body and add to your energy, rather than deplete it.
- Add an extra 30 minutes to your sleep. Some people need 6 hours to feel fully rested, some people need 9 or 10. Listen to your body and make getting enough rest for your body a priority.
- Spend some time with friends. Connect with those people who matter most to you, but that you may not see daily.
- Invest in clothes that make you feel happy and confident when you wear them.
- Listen to upbeat music. Listening to good tunes can almost always lift my mood. Bonus points if you get up and dance!
- Take a moment to express gratitude for the things you have in your life.
To recap, these are my best tips on practicing self care for creatives: Exercise regularly, keep a journal, meditate, take care of your body, and occasionally treat yourself to something special.
Self care doesn’t have to be a dramatic life change. It just needs to be intentional. Creative individuals are especially susceptible to stress and depletion of mental energy. Make your self care a priority so you can be your best creative self.
What are the self care techniques that work best for you?
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Love this! Regular exercise is a must for me. It’s makes a huge difference in mentality. As someone who’s suffered with severe anxiety and bouts of depression I can say it helps more than people even realize!
I love this! I really need to work on my self are. I get so lazy but super great tips!
That’s understandable. Sometimes “lazy” is really a sign of burnout and that we need some rest. Thank you for your comment.
Nicole, I’m the same! I wrote this post partially to remind myself of how important it is to stop and take care of your own physical and mental health. I am so glad you enjoyed the article!
I’m sharing this to my Facebook feed. Such a great blog with lots to consider. Thank you!