In light of the Work Smarter Not Harder movement here at Creating Confidently this month I want to focus on self care, specifically for creatives.
Today there is a lot of self care advice out there, mostly have a bubble bath, listen to nature sounds and pamper yourself a little. This sounds lovely, easy, relaxing. I am sorry to be the one to tell you this, but though this can be part of the self care package, actualizing self care as a daily practice is work, and for creatives there is an added level of caring for your creativity too. I want to look at the real struggles of self care and the life changing work that self care actually means.
Let’s start here, where we all have a reference point. The myths surrounding self care are as follows:
It is selfish to only look after yourself; creating a guilt complex surrounding relaxation, me time and unplugging from the world.
It’s all bubble baths and rainbows; while these may be components of self care they are not the be all, end all, and certainly not a sustainable practice without some serious work.
Vacations are necessary to get away from the daily grind; while vacations are delightful they are not always full of self care, and living a life you always need a vacation from is not the ideal we should be striving for.
Self care is the enemy to productivity; in fact making sure you engage in self care routines and practices can help improve productivity and give room for your creativity to breathe and flourish under less stressful circumstances.
Self Care in Reality:
This has become a hot topic word, phrase, button, in our world today. There are gurus and life coaches a plenty trying to talk about, debunk and encourage self care practices. If there is an easy method out there for self care it is a lie. Self care is work. One example of how this is in fact true is the struggle with working out. We know it’s good for us, physically and mentally - which means it works wonders for creativity too - but it’s one of those things we never quite get around to, just another thing that gets scheduled into our day and then brilliantly avoided in favour of more pressing concerns. It’s a selfish thing, to take care of our bodies, and so we guilt ourselves into doing for others instead. Working out is difficult to stick to, it’s a habit we need to form, it is a method of self care - real self care. There is an indulgent side to self care as well - bubble baths and such - but those are luxuries we get to enjoy once the real work of self care is done (after the sweat session for example).
Self care is making boundaries around our time. They can be hard to enforce, like creative time being given the same priority, time and attention as the day job, the family, the house. Saying no to things that drain us, or when we have nothing left in us to give. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t offer our help and do for others, but it’s acknowledging that at times, we are empty and need a refill, that we are allowed to say no when we need to and not feel guilt or shame around that decision to take care of ourselves. Boundaries also include asking those we love most to respect them, and maybe even help us enforce them when we need it.
Why We Need it:
Self care allows us to hold sacred space for ourselves in a world that does not. Self care gives us the opportunity to refill our wells and better serve ourselves and others. It is a practice we must maintain, one that can help us to serve the needs of our creativity and community better. By taking care of ourselves we create space in our lives for others. If we do not engage with self care practices, true self care, we get burnt out running on empty. In that state we are not fit to serve anyone else, least of all ourselves and most especially our creativity suffers for it. We need self care to be a practice just like our creative practice; a place we can rest and restore.
Each week this mini series will explore different issues surrounding self care through the lens of creativity.
Join us on this journey and share your self care journey with us in the forum, on the posts, via e-mail or Instagram!