Caring For Yourself First
The holidays and turning of the New Year can be a time of burn out for artists. The holiday demands have maxed out all resources, leaving you in desperate need for a break. Hopefully by mid-January, you have rested and have mustered up some energy to go back to the drawing board, figuratively or literally, once again.
It’s common to have times of hustle and times of rest, but does burn out always have to happen? Is artistic expression a constant rollercoaster of burn out and time out? Perhaps not. Not when self-care is a high priority.
When a regular self-care practice is established, you have a foundation of health that improves your everyday life and helps battle burn out in times of hustle.
Before we explore self-care practices, let’s talk a bit about why it’s so important.
Think about where your creativity comes from. It comes from within and you serve as a vessel for an idea, message, or feeling to be brought into the world.
If you aren’t taking the time to care for and tune into yourself, the pathway to your creative expression will be blocked.
If that pathway is blocked, you will inhibit the quality of work you create.
Another important reason for a regular self-care practice is to maintain your physical health. As a bodyworker, I have seen so many artists damage their body due to poor body mechanics and overusing certain muscles.
Most of the time I can help them with their issues, but some have had to stop creating completely, at least for a certain amount of time. And for those that make their living off of making, taking periods of time off just doesn’t work.
There are a bazillion other reasons why self-care is so important, and I invite you to search out meaningful reasons for yourself, but let’s move on to some simple, yet profound, ways to take good care.
In a world where Google calendars and smart phones seem to run everything, use them to your advantage. One of the best ways to ensure you take time for yourself is to schedule it. Put it in your calendar and have a reminder go off when it’s time.
Treat this time as sacred and honor the commitment to yourself. It can be as simple as a 10-minute dance break, or it can be a chunk of time to meditate, journal, work out, do yoga, play with your dog, or anything else that brings joy.
I promise you have time for self-care. You always have time for the things and people important to you. Put yourself in that category, and recruit the people in your life to honor this time for you, as well.
You cannot fill a cup from an empty vessel. This is your time to fill your vessel.
MAKE IT YOUR LIFESTYLE
The next tip is to imbed self-care into your everyday tasks. A lot of the damage to your body can be done while working, so be mindful of yourself at all times.
A great place to start is your body mechanics. Some examples are if you stand a lot, make sure you are standing with your weight equally distributed on both legs. If you sit a lot, make sure you aren’t hunched over with your neck frozen forward.
Switch up your repetitive movements as much as possible with short and frequent stretch and/or movement breaks. Not doing so can lead to injury and chronic pain.
UNPLUG TO TUNE IN
Musician James Taylor frequently talks about the importance taking time to be completely alone so you can tune into your creativity without distraction. With smart phones and TV screens every which way, it’s harder than ever to be completely alone. But without some solitude, how can we really tune in with ourselves?
Play around with intentional alone time. Unplug from your devices. Find your own tiny corner of the world to have as a quite space. Be still and listen. Listen to how you are actually doing and act accordingly. You might be surprised at what you hear.
TEND TO THE INNER CRITIC
A huge hurtle I come up against in my own writing is my inner critic. My negative self-talk has a heyday with my creations, so much so that I had a songwriting drought of about 4 years. It was a sad time for my creativity, indeed.
Take note to what your inner critic has to say. Is that something you would say to a loved one? We are so, so hard on ourselves and the repercussions of that can be quite destructive.
When you hear that inner critic going, just listen, say, “thank you for sharing,” and then counter it with some positivity. It may sound silly, but with diligence, it really does quiet that nagging voice.
As you settle into 2016, make self-care a priority. Let it be a part of your creative process and a vehicle for sharing yourself with the world.
Bio: For over eight years, Randi Kay has been helping people heal with yoga, bodywork, and self care coaching. When she isn’t nerding out about healing the body and mind, she spends her time freelance writing, performing as a singer/songwriter, and adventuring the globe. For weekly nudges to take good care, sign up for her free Self Care Sunday newsletter at naturallyrandikay.com.