When I was in graduate school I read A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf’s extended essay on the necessity for a woman to have a space and money of her own if she is to write. She has been criticized over the years as being elitist and privileged, yet I cannot argue with the essence of having one’s basic needs met in order to create.
Fast forward to 2018 – self-care is a hot topic, and necessary for maintaining a creative life. I’m not referring to writing the next Great American Novel, screen play or music score. Whenever we solve a problem in a new way, it requires brainpower and creativity.
In the spirit of Virginia Woolf and self-care, I give you my top six needs for keeping the creative fires burning.
· Exercise most days. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, it’s enough to move for 30 minutes.
· Eat nourishing and energy giving food. This means different things to different people. Personally, I try to avoid sugar and alcohol which throw my energy into a tailspin.
· Maintain a daily meditation practice. I alternate between stream of conscious journaling, formal meditation practice, and listening to guided meditations.
· Good sleep hygiene: go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This one is hard for me because I get a second wind around 10 pm and like to keep working on the computer: not conducive to sleep!
· Socialize. This is especially challenging during the winter months in Minnesota when the pull to stay inside the house is strong.
· Make time for pleasure and fun. Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way introduced me to the practice of Artist Dates – A mandatory once-a-week date with your inner artist where you take her wherever her heart desires. It can be frivolous (like playing your favorite childhood game) or serious (seeing a play on a challenging subject). The point is to LISTEN to what your artist self wants to do, without judgement.
How are you going to care for your inner artist today?