Developing our creative ideas and projects demands focus, energy and emotional balance, in addition to tools and materials.
Especially if you are a highly sensitive person, as many or most creative people are, you will be more effective and productive in your creative life by exercising conscious self-care.
Creativity and life coach Jenna Avery notes that for “Sensitive Souls, standard formulas don’t work well, like 40-plus-hour workweeks, commutes, fluorescent lights, and cubicles.
“We require physically and emotionally supportive environments along with plenty of independence and privacy. In addition, each sensitive person has specific challenges – such as people, noise, or light. It’s important to know which of these are significant for you and to learn how to address them.”
She adds, “For example, you might bring in an incandescent lighting source or create a cubicle of plants to define your space. You might also learn protective energy techniques for interpersonal challenges.”
From article: “Work that Works for Sensitive Souls: Six Steps to Transforming Your Career” by Jenna Avery.
Jenna Avery is a highly sensitive coach and intuitive who offers Self-Study Classes for Sensitive Souls, a Writers Circle group, and other programs for creative people at JennaAvery.com.
Whether you are working on your own or in a business setting, you may face challenges interacting with other people – as well as getting help and support from them. So paying more attention to how you feel and function with others can be a form of self-care.
A former psychotherapist, Lisa Riley now provides Creativity Coaching.
In her article “5 Ways to Be Kind to Your Creative Self” she notes it is “common for artists and creative professionals to be their worst critic. As creative individuals we beat ourselves up if our productivity or level of creativity doesn’t match up to our expectations.”
Dealing with self-criticism and “learning how to treat yourself with kindness is essential to your professional development and most importantly in surviving the challenges of pursuing a career in a creative industry.”
Here are her suggestions for ways to be compassionate towards yourself, to help support your healthy physical and emotional life as a creator.
Accepting things as they are is a great way to give yourself permission to be exactly where you’re at in your creative process even if that means struggling to maintain motivation or coming up with ideas. In other words, not judging your current situation as good or bad, but that it is what it is.
2. Letting Go of Expectations
Sometimes, we place too rigid or high expectations on ourselves. For instance, some creative professionals have this idea that success means creativity would come easy for them, when in reality, creativity is an ebb and flow process.
So, always evaluate if your expectations are reasonable or unpractical and don’t be afraid to modify them in order to be more flexible.
3. Say Kind Words to Yourself
It’s interesting how without question, many of us treat our loved ones, the people we care about with loving-kindness. Yet when it comes to ourselves, we’re not so kind. We are quick to judge and tell ourselves unkind words. Adopting a nurturing and supportive inner voice is a huge part of practicing self-compassion.
Become aware of the statements that you tell yourself. Are they nurturing or are they critical? Are they supportive or are they judgmental? Are they kind or are they mean?
4. Focus on the Successes in your Past
When we’re struggling with our creativity, it’s easy to lose sight of our past accomplishments. We begin to define ourselves with struggling. Don’t forget how far you’ve come and what you have accomplished this far.
When we forget our strengths, talents and past accomplishments, we judge ourselves negatively versus treating ourselves with kindness.
5. Small Achievements are Equally Deserving
Whether your art is showcased in a local paper versus a national art magazine or you directed a commercial versus a blockbuster, it’s important to give yourself credit for even the small achievements. Even if you haven’t yet arrived at your ultimate goal, your small successes are vital stepping stones.
So, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for even the little accomplishments.
Read more articles by Lisa Riley on her blog, and see her multiple Products for Your Creative Success on her site The Art of Mind.
[Photo: Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown, from my Facebook page The Inner Entrepreneur.]
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Last reviewed: 11 Jun 2012