As creatives, it can be hard to find that balance of self-care and pursuing your passions on stage, behind the microphone or whatever it may be.
Whether you’re in the hustle of back to back performances, trying to balance work and your passions or just want a feel-good read to cure your middle-of-the-week slump, this post is for you!
I’ve compiled a list of some self-care tips that I’ve learned over the years as a creator that help me stay kind and caring towards myself, and that I hope can help you find balance in what is a highly fulfilling, exciting but also overwhelming life as an artist.
*Disclaimer: All of the opinions presented in this post are not professional advice and are meant for inspirational and entertainment purposes only.*
Set your own boundaries
Sometimes we take on more than we can handle or we let our creative work seep into other areas of our lives, making it impossible for us to take the rest that we need to recharge. But it’s important to learn when to say no, and more importantly, to be okay with saying no.
It’s also easy to compare ourselves to how much other people are doing, and expect the same from ourselves. But someone else’s boundaries may not suit us. If you want to read more on how to let go of comparison, check out our post here!
Pass on Perfectionism
As artists, perfectionism is probably the most common trait we all have.
But perfection doesn’t exist. And the sooner we can start being okay with that, the easier our lives are going to be.
Not everything we do has to be revolutionary. We deserve to be compassionate towards ourselves, and accept our imperfections the same way we do those of the people around us. We are truly our toughest critic – and what a shame it would be to live life unable to recognize our greatness because we’re too busy holding ourselves to a standard that doesn’t even exist.
So, instead of focusing on being the best of the best, try and focus on the process of learning and growing every time you get up on that stage. Because we’re always getting better with every show, with every day – that’s why we’re alive after all, is it not? And as Jane Fonda once said:
“The challenge is not to be perfect…it’s to be whole”.
Talents, flaws and all.
Something I’ve found incredibly helpful as a creative person myself is to practice some kind of mindfulness habit within my routine. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular or take any specific length of time. It could be meditating for 10 minutes, yoga stretching for 5 minutes, walking, journaling with your morning coffee – anything!
Having something to slow down the never-ending stream of thoughts and ideas running through the brain is essential for preventing burnout. I love meditating with Headspace or this free app Insight Timer, doing some evening Yoga with Adriene or even just dumping my brain on a page before bed. It can do wonders if you find your brain is constantly scattered all over the place.
Don’t take it to heart
A TV producer once said to me that when working in the creative business, “no just means not right now.”
We’ve all been rejected, but it doesn’t mean you have bad ideas or no talent. It was one thing that didn’t work out at this one time in your life because it wasn’t right for you. It means that you need to just keep going. Because if you do, somewhere down the line, that no will turn to a yes. If you believe in your art and your story, you will keep doing your absolute best to tell it; and it will eventually find its rightful place to be told.
But, that doesn’t mean being turned down is easy. And if you want to read more on dealing with rejection, check out our post right here that talks all about how to reject rejection.
You can’t do it all.
I know the feeling of having a thousand different things you want to do at once.
But the truth is, we can’t do it all.
Practicing self-care sometimes means we have to prioritize. And it’s hard when passion and the fear of letting opportunities pass is at the forefront. But it’s important to understand that if we try and do everything at once, nothing we want to get done will actually get done to its full potential.
Narrow in on what’s truly important right now, and give that your attention.
Putting something on the back burner doesn’t mean it has to stay there forever, and as the wise Oprah Winfrey once said:
“You can have it all. Just not all at once.”
I recently sat in on a panel discussion with a Canadian showrunner. He told us a story of when he and a group of writers were tasked with staying up all night to get a script done for the next morning. So, while everyone was getting settled in for the night, one of the head writers started packing his bags. The team asked him what he was doing – they had to get the script done by sunrise! All he said was this:
Then he picked up his bags, and went home.
What happened next? They ended up getting the script done 12 hours later, and everything was fine. The script wasn’t even being shot that day and they didn’t really need it for that morning.
Not everything we think is an emergency is an emergency. It’s not life or death – and it’s easy to forget that sometimes as creatives.
You are a performer, but you are also a daughter, a partner, a mom, a friend, a human being. You are never just one thing and your art is not everything you do. It’s okay to say “so what?” sometimes if something isn’t perfect or done exactly how you had hoped.
Learn to ask for help
If you’re someone who is super independent, this one might not be easy.
But, I think it’s so important to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you’re incapable or lazy if you reach out for help. It means you’re, once again, human.
We all need a little help sometimes, and handing off some to-dos or even just reaching out for support is only going to bring you closer to who you want to be. I don’t think it shows weakness, I think it shows wisdom; wisdom in knowing that the greatest things in life are never done alone.
Most of us work in creative fields because we love it. So I think practicing real self-care also means ensuring you remember that passion, stay self-compassionate, have fun, and try keep this piece of advice in mind:
Don’t try to please everyone, and please don’t try to be like everyone.
‘Cause that’s just boring.