Self-care is an essential soft skill you need to master in today’s fast-paced world. We’re all constantly juggling between our health, work, and social life, and it is easy for our mental health to slip out of the mix. Self-care and solitude are usually not a priority.
We need to make them priorities with immediacy. Especially now, when we’re all stuck inside our homes adjusting to a new phase of life. This is new for all of us and can get overwhelming rapidly. Self-care is a way of ensuring we don’t burn ourselves out and manage to adjust well to the stressors of our new routines.
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Why do you need to care about something so daunting as self-care?
When you take care of yourself, you make it easier for other people to rely on you and nurture healthy relationships. If you’re a creator, it is easy to let your creativity get stuck in a rut. Without any self-care and with tons of new responsibilities, accommodating your art in this new life can be a challenging task. Taking care of yourself will reflect on the work you produce.
Self-care can be daunting and easy to misunderstand on the internet. Some say it’s exercising, what some say it’s taking a day off from the same. Some say it’s organizing your wardrobe, while some say it’s accepting it as it is without letting perfectionism get to you.
To clear the mess a little, self-care is subjective and can be tailored to your needs. It is also not static or consistent like a recipe. What you need can only be perfectly understood by you. It should resonate with what relaxes you the most and brings out the best in you.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
1. Sleep Adequately
I don’t need to tell you about the importance of sleep. But with new routines and added responsibilities, it can be easy to forgo sleep for completing more work. As creators, you might often find yourself working better in the silence of the night – which can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule.
But you shouldn’t compromise your sleep. It affects everything – from how you feel emotionally to how you feel physically. You might feel okay to forgo some sleep occasionally, but chronic sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your well-being.
Self-care means making sure you are getting the sleep you need. The best would be to sleep and wake up at the same time every day with 8 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep. But for when life doesn’t make it possible, sleep in for a little while. Or sleep earlier than you usually do.
For the worst days, there are always naps. Naps have been proven to reduce fatigue, improve mood, and increased alertness. Not just this, naps also result in quicker reaction time and improve your memory.
So, sleep is not just self-care but self-improvement.
2. Make Exercise a Part of Your Routine
While being stuck inside our homes, it can be hard to find the space, time, and/or energy required to make exercise an essential part of our routines. But exercise is the perfect way to take a short break from all the stress, anxiety, and distractions. It is shown to have a positive effect on mental health.
Exercising consistently can boost your mood, relieve your worries, and make you physically healthier. Exercise can also help you get rid of creative blocks and refresh your mind after a hard day.
It can be hard to find time for extensive exercise practice daily. So, start by incorporating a leisurely walk, some mindful Yoga, or a simple run (if possible) into your routine. Remember, a little goes a long way.
If you are looking for something simple and fun to begin, try Adriene’s Youtube channel: Yoga with Adriene.
She has a “Yoga” for every mood. She also has playlists sorted according to length, neck tension, and living gratefully. The channel creates a new one every month.
But if you just want a quick workout, I recommend apps by Leap Fitness Group. They have 10-minute high-intensity workouts which can make it easier to form an exercise routine. The app also allows you to tailor workouts according to your preference.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Do you know mindfulness can increase creativity and productivity? Meditation is the most common way to approach mindfulness. But you can also engage in other activities like Yoga, walking, technology breaks where you do nothing relating to screens, or mindful eating.
Psych Central also includes other fun activities like yawning and stretching for 10 seconds every hour, stroking your hands with full attention, and breathing with your whole concentration for one minute.
Just simply being is a rare and hard thing to do in the world of technology. There are demanding stressful jobs, domestic responsibilities, and rather distracting apps. It can be hard to just pause and observe.
But doing these mindfulness activities will not only boost your mental health but will also reflect on your work and art too. It will enhance your relationships, by encouraging better communication and help you remain grounded when times get tough. Boredom is often the source of creative inspiration you need.
If you are looking to get started by something easy, try by downloading Headspace. Although it is primarily a mediation app, it also has many other activities like mindful walking and mindful eating in its subscription.
So, go ahead, relax, and just sit.
4. Try a New And Engaging Activity
Learning new things can ignite your creativity by helping you form unusual neural connections. It is likely to be the cherry on top of your art if it also keeps you engaged, mindful, and in a fluid state.
Many artists try mandala drawing or coloring to practice a new and mindful pastime. You can also try knitting or sewing by following simple YouTube tutorials.
If none of these suggestions suit you, try journaling your thoughts and freewriting. And you can thank me later if your art feels refreshed and enriched!
5. Engage in Activities You Find Relaxing
Staying home all day can be hard on all of us. Try to include things you find relaxing in your everyday schedule. The busier you are, the more you need to spend time recharging.
This activity can be different for everyone. It might mean drinking tea early in the morning or playing with your pet or doing some skincare using homemade facial masks.
Whatever you choose to do should be relaxing and rejuvenating. Taking time to recharge can soothe your brain and help you to return refreshed so you can create.
6. Learn to Say “No”
Creating boundaries is crucial for your well-being. It may mean saying “no” to too many Zoom meetings with family to avoid burnout. It may even mean asking the people you live with to give you some uninterrupted solitude time.
We’re not living in normal times. Everyone is adjusting at their own pace and asking for space can seem like a betrayal to the people around you. But enforce your boundaries with calmness and firmness. You owe it to the artist within you to conserve your energy.
For anything draining or exhausting, can be met with a “no”. Take responsibility for what you engage in and don’t feel an ounce of guilt for it.
7. Take Technology Breaks
With both our work and our breaks residing in technology, it can be pretty easy to feel overwhelmed. Technology can help in achieving great feats if it is used correctly. But there exists “a little too much of something.”
It is easy to get caught in the spiral of refreshing your feed for more stuff, more news, more updates, more work, more inspiration – but learn to break the cycle by scheduling technology breaks in your calendar.
During this time, you are allowed to do anything except being in front of a screen. You can take a nap, learn, get bored, read, talk to a loved one – do anything not involving a screen.
Taking the break can trigger the fear of missing out. But soon enough you’ll realize that you’re not missing much if you’re away from technology for a few hours – although your brain will feel brand new.
This can also be the time inspiration strikes you and unleashes your inner creator.
8. Take Inspiration From What Your Watch/Reading Lists
Like the days in these times, your art can also feel repetitive. Time seems to have become endless, all the days have morphed into one, and distractions have become a daily thing. It’s in these times when the strength of a creator can come to a test.
Trying a novel technique in your art form, or taking inspiration from a fellow artist can help you get out of this fix. For me, for example, I find filling creative prompts helpful when it comes to getting over a creator’s block.
You can also do the same by watching a fellow artist’s work and taking inspiration from it (many writers try redaction to constrict their form and choice of words from another writer’s work). Or you can watch a movie or read a book you find inspiring and ignite your creative expression.
Art can be hard to find on tough days. But it is during these trying times when art is needed the most.
9. Schedule Time for Self-Care
Lastly, it can be difficult to prioritize ourselves and protect our self-care time. When our immediate attention is needed, our self-care is the first thing we postpone.
Moments of self-care not only benefit you but others around you as well. It can keep you grounded and focused on the big picture.
Try to incorporate time for self-care in small ways daily into your calendar. The more you care for yourself, the better you can create, take care of others, enjoy your life, and thrive consistently.
Self-care can change you in a million ways and Madhuri’s story is just one of the examples.
Self-care is an essential skill to learn in today’s fast-paced world. To function to your best capacity, you need to take adequate care of both – your physical and mental health. As a creator, self-care is essential to help you stay creative and nurture your artists’ spirit. Here are some ways to practice self-care at home:
- Sleep adequately: Get at least 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
- Exercise: Try doing light exercises like Yoga, walks, and workouts daily.
- Mindfulness: Practice meditation or simply, do everything by being 100% present. It’ll boost your creativity and productivity.
- Try a new activity: Doing new stuff once in a while can keep you on your toes and help improve your mental health.
- Engage in activities you find relaxing: These activities are different for everyone. Do what suits your needs best.
- Say “no”: It’s hard to create boundaries. Do it anyway – with compassion and firmness.
- Technology breaks: Schedule some downtime from your phone and social media.
- Get inspired: Make some time to watch a movie or read a creatively inspiring book.
- Schedule self-care: Mark your calendar for the times you practice self-care. Make it a priority.
I hope this article gives you some insight into self-care and how you can inculcate it into your daily life so it nourishes your art. What are the other things you do as part of self-care?
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