Creative Expression as Self-Care
“Self- care” seems a hot buzzword that has made many, including myself, cringe at times. Over time however I started to move past the cringe factor and get curious about what self care might really be.
For some self-care is a long yoga class or a bubble bath, for others a quick face wash or simply brushing their teeth each morning. While I enjoy and appreciate each of these activities none seem to address the true care of my “self” and perhaps that is what makes me cringe.
Whenever I find myself curious about something I begin by exploring the language used to define the concept. “Care”, defined as the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something, was easy. But how does one define the self?
Turning to the dictionary of Google I searched “define self”. The result: a person's essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action. This definition doesn’t seem quite as clear since it leads to more questions like define essential or being or other. I searched further and settled on the Jungian psychology concept of self; The Self is the center of the total personality—including consciousness, the unconscious, and the ego.
So if self care can be defined as the provision of what is necessary for the health of the total personality ego where do we begin? My answer goes beyond caring for the vessel of our physical body and begins to address so much more.
Now when I hear the word self-care I picture paints and pens, paper and palettes. I dream of messy hands and a full heart. The greatest form of self-care I can personally practice, and I believe you can too, is engaging in the process of creative-expression in as many ways that beckon.
Creative expression addresses the total personality, it calls for all of our parts to come out and participate. The tactile experiences involved and immediate responses necessary engage that in us which is conscious. The ego is involved as our views of the world and self esteem come in to play while we literally bring some “thing” in to creation. Finally the unconscious is activated as we tap in to our imagination and intuition and allow it to guide us to make one mark then the next.
Time and time again the process of engaging in some form of creative expression will relax your spirit. It will reunite you with your authentic voice. It will guide you to find the beautiful and sacred within. Expressing creatively will provide that which is necessary for the health of the total personality; I believe it is one of the most powerful forms of self-care one can practice.
How do you practice self-care? Do You find your practice of creative expression offers all of the above?