Have you ever heard of the expression, "You can not pour from an empty cup?" As artists, we are constantly creating, giving of ourselves, and interacting with people who are looking to be entertained by us, in one way or another.
Did you notice that after a show or performance, you feel energized and very excited, but once you get home, you feel completely drained and exhausted? Sometimes, it can take days to recover from being on tour or doing a shoot. Below, I have compiled a list of things that you can do to prevent burnout. With self-care, you can stay at peak performance for years to come!
"Self care for me is being aware of what I eat, eating more veggies and fruit. Putting a smile on someone's face makes me feel great. Feeling the sun on my skin and dancing..." -Carla Freeman, Visual Artist, Baltimore
Top 10 Ways For Artists to Practice Self-Care:
Schedule Your Very Own "Self-Care" Day: Pick a day of the week that is just for you. Unplug from the internet, don't take any calls, spend time with loved ones, or take time by yourself. Practice mindful activities such as yoga, natural walks, and journaling at this time.
Find or Create YOUR "Safe Space": In order for us to completely let go, we have to be in a place where we feel comfortable enough to let go and be ourselves. Where do you like to go when you need to decompress? Consider creating your own meditation space in your home with a pillow, candles, and a photo/painting that brings you peace. Road Rules: When you are on the road, your safe space may be your hotel room. Make sure that it stays clean, and bring something from home that makes you feel comfortable. When I travel, I bring crystals and other talismans to create an alter. Things that go on an alter can include items that create a tranquil feeling, express gratitude, and remind us of our goals and intentions.
Ground Yourself: When we are creating, we connect to universal consciousness. This can take us out of our bodies, in a way. Time flies by, we forget to eat, and we stay up for long hours honing our craft. There are several ways to stay grounded. Earthing: Go outside and walk in the grass, sand, or dirt with no shoes on. Pay attention to what the earth feels like under your bare feet as you walk around slowly. This is very therapeutic. Visualization: Close your eyes, take deep cleansing breaths, and visualize a thread running from the crown of your head, down your spine, into the earth, and hooking into the earth's core. Mindful Eating: Sit at a table and place both feet on the floor. Look at your food. Smell it. Give thanks. Then, taste it, chew it, and really take the time to enjoy it. Paying attention to what is going on in the present moment really helps to relax the mind and body, so that it can release stress and other toxins.
Take A Bath: Pour a heaping cup of mineral rich Epsom salts and some "smell good" into a warm bath. The magnesium in the Epsom salts will soothe and relax aching muscles. Lavender oil helps you to sleep. Rose battles depression. Vanilla is anti-inflammatory.
Just Say "No": As artists, we give so much of ourselves. We have to learn to say "no" to people and "yes" to ourselves! It is not selfish to take care of yourself. As mentioned earlier, we can not pour from an empty cup.
Eat Healthy Foods: You are what you eat. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Drink plenty of water. And, do not overeat. Fried or sugary foods drain our life force energy. Healthy foods fuel it. When indulging, make sure to mindfully engage, so that you have the energy and stamina that is needed for a demanding career.
Early to Bed & Early to Rise: When the body is asleep it is able to heal and recover from the wear and tear that we place on our bodies. Getting a full night's rest also helps you to lose weight.
Exercise Regularly: Energy is like credit. It takes energy to get energy. When you exercise, it increases your endurance, metabolism, and ability to focus on tasks.
Meditate: Mindfulness practices physiologically heal the brain and body from the side effects of stress and trauma. Meditation can lower your blood pressure, improve your response to stressful situations, improve memory, and increase the flow of creativity to your brain. Try meditating for 10 minutes a day, or just take 10 deep breaths when you wake up and before you go to bed.
Remove Toxic People From Your Life: There is a saying that "Birds of a feather flock together." Have you ever noticed that some people drain you and others activate you? Stay with the people who activate or inspire you to be your best self. People who are toxic literally drain your life force energy, leaving you wondering why you feel so bad. It may not be easy, but you are worth it!
All-in-all, self-care is essential to your physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellness. If we do not take care of ourselves, we will be depleted and no longer be able to do what we are passionate about. There are too many of us who are gone too soon, because we are just trying to do too much for others, and not doing enough for ourselves. Let's be proactive, and encourage others to do the same.
"Our bodies are gardens to which our wills are gardeners." -William Shakespeare