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Taking Care of Your Creative Self

Creative expression involves our whole being, so taking care of ourselves emotionally, spiritually and physically is part of being a healthy and thriving creative person.

Musician Henry Rollins commented about being a performer and staying healthy while doing road tours with his Rollins Band: “Eating well is becoming easier on the road as more places are health conscious. Gyms are easy to find anywhere there’s electricity and traffic.”

But, he added, “Time is the hard part. I do my best and I learned a long time ago that without recuperative sleep, good nutrition and constant exercise, this high stress lifestyle of traveling, etc., quickly takes a toll.

“And how do I do it? I just see it as a very important thing and make sure I get it done.”

[ January 11, 2006; photo from]

Actor Maggie Gyllenhaal once commented about “learning to not sabotage myself in a subtler way – for instance, even just by putting moisturizer on when I get out of the shower. Learning to honour myself and believing that I’m worth taking care of.”

Is skin care trivial?

Maybe not. I have a vulnerability to psoriasis in a couple of areas, such as the edges of my thumbs. If I don’t regularly use a skin cream, those areas get painful or even develop small sores – which can be distracting, even unconsciously, and use body energy unnecessarily.

Self-care can involve a wide range of ways to support our physical and emotional health, and enhance positive self regard.

It can be a crucial aspect of how well we are able to realize our talents.

One form of support is to modulate destructive criticism both from others, and even more importantly, from ourselves.

Step Jones – founder of the company Life Motivations – says in his article Love and Energy for your Plan of Life, “Be supportive of yourself, and if you don’t get support from the people around you, drop them.

“You may have to work with some people who are not supportive, and that’s okay. Just make sure you have a plan to move yourself forward. I know that even now I have people that I need to move forward from, because we don’t have the same values or understandings.”

Also see my article Being Creative and Self-critical.

Enough sleep

Forced sleep deprivation affects medical interns and film artists and crews, among others.

Film shoots can involve longer than 18 hour work days. Interviewed on the radio show Deadline L.A. on KPFK [August 5 2006], filmmakers Haskell Wexler and Lisa Leeman commented about their documentary Who Needs Sleep? that research indicates sleep deprivation causes mental deficits that can be as detrimental as being drunk.

The film reveals that fatal car accidents caused by sleep deprivation claimed the lives of several of Wexler’s close colleagues, and may have played a key role in the death of Oscar-winning cinematographer Conrad Hall (American Beauty, Road to Perdition).

Some artists have claimed sleep deprivation can induce creative consciousness.

Maybe, under certain conditions. But even short of the extremes of car accidents, it can distort physical and mental functioning enough to impair creative expression.

Linda Dessau counsels and writes as “the Self-Care Coach” who “helps artists enhance their creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues,” and says that self-care is “the path to creative expression.

“By paying closer attention to your self-care, you can have easier access to your creativity, to your muse and to your inner strength and resilience.”

From her article Self-Care for Creative Artists.

A related book on this topic: The Art of Extreme Self-Care, by Cheryl Richardson.

Taking Care of Your Creative Self

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2010). Taking Care of Your Creative Self. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 3 Dec 2010
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