As an artist, if you’re anything like me, you likely experience the world on many different levels simultaneously. What you see and feel is often more detailed and more intense than what is shared by most people around you. Of course, this heightened sense inspires your artistry and allows you to tap into the creative flow.
On the flip side, this same intensity can also make it hard to stay grounded amid the noise of everyday life. Prioritizing self-care is the best way to not only survive but to thrive in a loud world. Here are my top tips for taking care of the creative soul:
1. THE BASICS
Drink Lots of Water. Get enough sleep. Eat Well. This is all about optimizing your energy. Taking care of the one beautiful body, you have can dramatically change how you feel.
Get moving. Whenever I feel like my anxiety (or stress, anger, or sadness) is pulling me into the abyss, exercise ALWAYS helps. Our bodies are made to move. Dance in your kitchen. Get on a bike. Go for a jog. Call a friend and go for a walk. Getting your body moving (and keeping it moving) will help you feel great (and look great too).
2. START YOUR DAY WITH INTENTION
Every morning, I meditate for 15–20 minutes before I do anything else (Insight Timer is my app of choice — lots of options, great for beginners and experts alike). Next, before I pour that first cup of coffee or have anything to eat, I drink a big glass of warm lemon water (good for so many things, including your metabolism, digestion, immune system, and your skin).
The first half-hour of your day can set the tone for everything to come. Write out your Morning Pages (from The Artist’s Way). Journal. Meditate. Pray. Make a gratitude list. Do what works for you, but set an intention for how you want to show up in your life first thing every morning.
3. GET INSPIRED
Refill your creativity well by getting out in the world — visit an art gallery, a flea market, or stroll through your favorite local gift shop. This change of scenery can do amazing things for cultivating new ideas. Now admittedly, this is more challenging right now amid a pandemic, but even flipping through a gorgeous magazine or going down a Pinterest rabbit hold can inspire the shift you need to tap back into your creative flow.
Try out new media. Practice a new art technique. Write a song or a short story. Play, with no expected outcome. Sometimes as working creatives with busy deadlines to meet and clients to appease, the whole reason we made art our career (for the JOY of it!) can fall by the wayside. Even if it’s for only 20–30 minutes a day, find a way to make creative play a regular part of your routine.
4. YOUR THOUGHTS MATTER
There is a little voice in your head that may tell you. You’re not good enough, or Who do you think you are, to go after that big dream? This is the voice of fear, and it is not telling you the truth. Learn to acknowledge that voice (thank you, I hear you, but I’ve got big things to do today!) and then get out there and do them. Understanding that this voice is only interested in maintaining the status quo and that you have the power to choose your thoughts through curiosity and self-awareness can up-level your game.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION
We all have an internal guidance system, though many of us learned to ignore it at a very young age. If you can get quiet enough (through meditation, journaling, maybe a walk in nature with no one else around) to hear it, and then — and this is the most crucial part (and the most difficult) — dare to follow that voice or those gut feelings, you will be delighted at how your life unfolds.
BONUS TIP: COMPASSION
The suggestions listed above are what I strive for. None of us is perfect — I fall short of these ideals ALL THE TIME. When I don’t live up to my own expectations, I practice grace and compassion (I am only human, after all). And then I get back up, and I try again.
For the creative soul, self-care is not a luxury but a necessity. Each day begins with the opportunity to welcome more ease and joy into your life (rather than overwhelm and burnout). It took me a long time to understand this and even longer to honor and care for myself consistently. Honestly, it has made all the difference.
Kelly Angelovic is an artist and creativity coach based in Boulder, CO. An accomplished illustrator and surface designer, Kelly teaches clients to organize and prioritize their creative vision, helping them to design the creative life they have always imagined by tapping into their own authentic power. You can learn more about her, and sign up for Kelly’s newsletter on her website at KellyAngelovic.com.