What is creative self-care?
Creative self-care is a term growing in popularity among self-improvement circles and is a type of self-care.
Self care is doing things that you keep you happy and healthy.
Creative self-care takes that one step further by encouraging artistic and imaginative expression as a way to practice self-care.
Creative self-care hits the reset button on your mind, body and soul and facilitates self-expression at the deepest levels.
Creative self-care is for everybody. We all need to restore ourselves living in this chaotic world.
With the increasing presence of technology in our lives, more demand is placed on our attention in addition to our families, partners, career and other obligations.
As a nation, we are overworked, overstressed and the rate of disease proves that we are not properly taking care of ourselves.
The creative component is special because it calls on a part of us that we may have neglected since we were younger.
We all have creativity within us. It is how we survived as a species for tens of thousands of years. Evolution, natural instinct, intuition and creativity are all synonyms to me.
What are the main components of creative self-care?
The main areas of creative self-care that I promote are meditation, movement, creation, intuition, and play. Every person needs a prescription for more of these.
Everyone should be meditating. Seriously.
Even if you are the most fidgety person in the world you should meditate because the benefits are a no-brainer.
When you think of meditation you probably imagine someone sitting crossed-legged a.k.a. lotus position and chanting “om”.
That is the commonly accepted image of meditation, but that is by no means required.
You can sit in a chair, sit with your legs straight out in front of you, or lay down. You can chant out loud or in your head. You can repeat a mantra or count numbers. You can also just focus on your own breath.
Prepare for your mind to be blown in a second. Ready?
You don’t even have to do any of the above.
You can do writing meditations, listen to music that is soothing to you, or drink a cup of tea.
All meditation requires is that you focus your mind on the moment at the bare minimum.
This is why I promote creative self-care because while you are painting or journaling, your mind is focused on that task. You’re essentially meditating and creating at the same time.
Your mind is integrated with your body and they influence each other.
You can use your mind to motivate your body to do something. Moving your body can also change your mental state.
Furthermore, movement helps you maintain and improve your physical health. Yoga is my favorite source of movement.
I like yoga and it's my preferred form of exercise. Anyone can do yoga. Yoga doesn’t require you to be flexible, thin, or whatever you may think doing yoga looks like. Yoga and meditation are two peas in a creative self-care pod.
Like meditation, yoga asks you to focus your mind with the added element of your body. It’s mindful movement and any person can improve their inner state with it.
While I practice and encourage yoga, the simplest form of exercise is walking. According to a Stanford study, taking a walk can increase creative thinking by up to 60%.
Also, you can achieve the same mental boost from walking outside or walking on a treadmill. You can walk however you like as long as you do it for at least 5 minutes.
Regardless of how you choose to move, just do it. It's great for you mental and physical health.
A key element of creative self-care is the creativity part. The fruits of your self-care reveal your inner self.
This is where you can explore your feelings, fantasies, goals and dreams and produce something tangible that represents your world.
The physical creations include vision boards, paintings, doodles, poems or journal entries.
If you’re a left-brainer, you can also express your creativity through mind maps and other organizational visuals.
Writing is an easy way to start expressing yourself. I think it’s also the most natural form of expression for us because words are such an integral part of human communication.
Journaling is my favorite creative self-care activity. I do it almost daily for my personal life and business. Journaling about your experiences can help you heal from emotional and physical traumas more quickly.
Free writing helps you create and find solutions, bring forth latent ideas, remove brain clutter and tap into your intuition.
This may be the best part of creative self-care. You will need to call on your inner child and let her run wild. Climb trees, jump rope, build a fort, or play hide-and-go-seek.
Make a list of all the fun things you used to do as a kid and do them. Adult games are fun too.
Playing releases your mind from the stresses of adult life, helps you be more imaginative, and look at things from a different perspective.
Accessing your inner knowing and being aligned is the underlying point of all this. It’s how we find our purpose which is why we’re here on this earth.
Intuition is called gut feeling, instinct, magic, signs from the universe and God's voice. Intuition is all of those things.
Your intuition is the spiritual being that resides in your physical body and guides you on your journey. Whatever you call it, we’ve all been in situations where we just knew something was wrong or we were confident that a choice was right, but could not explain it in logical terms.
Every experience that you go through happens for a reason and is teaching you a lesson on your journey. All you have to do is accept responsibility and examine your experience to find the truth.
When and where can creative self-care be practiced?
Creative self-care can be practiced on a daily basis, but if you can’t practice daily at least find time for weekly “me time”.
Ideally, creative self-care is practiced whenever and wherever you are available.
To make creative self-care a daily or weekly routine you have to examine your schedule to see where you can find the time.
Start with at least 5 minutes and work your way up from there. Practice when you wake up in the morning or before you go to bed at night.
It also doesn’t have to be a delegated time you’ve set aside. Doodle and journal during the inevitable work meetings you find yourself in. You may just come up with a solution to the problem your team has been working on.
Take your 15 minute break and do 5 minutes of journaling, 5 minutes of yoga, and 5 minutes of meditation.
Don’t overlook those times throughout your day where you have downtime. Turn your laptop, phone and tablet off or put them to sleep while you practice.
I also recommend practicing nature. The beauty of nature is enough to inspire anybody. A park, the beach, a small clearing in the woods, your garden, or the porch of your home.
Within your home, there may be a room you’ve reserved for “me time”, or even a corner in your bedroom or living room will work.
Wherever you can find the time and space, do your best to focus your attention and energy on your creative self-care practice.
Whether you engage in creative self-care or regular self-care, the important thing is that you make time for you.
Sources and Further Research
- Meditation Infographic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/14/meditation-mind-body-spirit_n_5291361.html
- Yoga Infographic: http://groundingyoga.com/2013/04/27/can-yoga-make-us-more-confident-and-creative/