When you flip through an art career book, you won’t find a section about artist self-care. Self-care is generally not associated with the technical or business skills of being an artist, but managing your health and wellness is essential to your longevity, creativity, and overall success.
While the self-care industry includes a laundry list of ways to provide nutrition, spirituality, positive self-talk, reflection, community, and health, it can get pretty woo-woo and very expensive fast. This post provides 5 key self-care areas to impact and enhance your artist self-care a bit more in ways that would most benefit artists. A little focus here will take you far!
Some art-making is very labor-intensive. From stretching big canvases and kneading blocks of clay to set up displays for art shows, the business and creation of art really uses our entire bodies for some of our creative processes. Spending the time to exercise can help alleviate the hazards of pulling or tearing muscles in the studio that could leave you hurting. A sprained ankle or a torn ligament can really cause pain and affect your productivity in the studio if you are not careful. Light weight baring activities and regular exercise can help prevent these small accidents from happening. Looking long tern, incorporating exercise into your weekly creative routine can insure that you are around a long time and have many more years of art making ahead of you while reducing heart disease, obesity, diabetes and more.
Studies have shown regular exercise increases creativity and inspiration. Feeling stuck on a project, taking a simple stroll around the neighborhood can help generate your solution. Regular weekly exercise has proven through scientific studies that it enhances cognitive creation. Walking, running, biking and yoga are aerobic activities that will help enhance your creativity, while golf, football and other game and strategy based sports are less likely to sow the creative benefit.
Sleep, rest, breathing, prayer, and meditation are all a part of quiet time. Artists need time to themselves. Whether this is time meditating, having a quiet cup of tea and doing a crossword puzzle or taking a nap, alone time helps fill the creative well. This quiet time doesn’t need to be spiritual but giving yourself room for rest can make way for any spiritual practice you have.
Oftentimes when we need quiet time, we need to set clear boundaries here. Family, studio mates, partners, phone calls, and emails can all impede our quiet time. Communicate when you need some alone time and turn off the electronic devices. Think of it as a time out, where you get to rest and recharge!
Treating yourself is the funniest way to provide self-care, but probably the one we will resist the most. Play and fun are essential to mental and creative health but we often convince ourselves it’s a luxury as opposed to a benefit. There are a variety of financial ways to do this, self indulgences do not need to be extravagant. Whether it be a fancy $5 mocha from your favorite local coffee shop, a small $10 of peppermint essential oil bottle to rub on your neck, or a small farmers market bouquet of flowers to have in your studio, there are very affordable ways to treat yourself.
Self-care includes making sure you are managing your health, this is the not-so-fun but very necessary part of your personal wellness. Go to regular checkups with your family physician, dentist, and any other health care provider you see. While money can be tight and it can be easy to justify putting off an annual exam another year, managing your health each year can help make sure you have many years of art-making ahead of you. You can take preventative measures as well as tackle any issues before they really impede your creative lifestyle.
An important aspect of your health includes insurance. While health insurance for artists is an entirely separate blog post, consider all of your avenues of insurance. Health, auto, home/renters, and studio insurance. Insurance is there for your worst-case scenario. It can seem like a financial burden at times if you are tight on funds, but reflect on if something were to happen, would you be able to recover your items, finances, space, time, health, etc. without assistance? If you need a vehicle to get to the studio, if you need your health to make art, and if you have visitors to your studio space, then you need insurance. It’s crucial to your self-care on many levels. It’s time to invest in yourself and your career if you have not done so already, it’s worth making insurance work financially because when you least expect it, you will need it. Pay your premium, express gratitude for your safety and security, and get back to making art.
Finding a balance between life’s pushes and pulls is a daily habit. Seek balance between all aspects of your life spiritual, financial, social, play, relationships, art & creativity, career. Finding a balance between daily life and studio time can be difficult too especially when there is a looming deadline approaching. Structure balance to benefit you mentally and emotionally, too much of one thing can burn you out. Spend time in areas of your life that have been a bit lacking while continuing to focus on what brings you joy.