There are so many ways to practice self-care. One of my favorite ways is to connect to my creativity. This helps me nourish my mind, heart and soul. Maybe you’re the same way, or maybe you’d like to explore your creativity for the first time. Here are some ideas.
1. Take a photo walk. Every month I write several articles on creativity for Psych Central. It’s one of my favorite topics to explore. Many of the women I’ve interviewed love taking photo walks. Their intention isn’t to take amazing photos (though often that’s exactly what they do); they take these walks to nourish themselves.
For Vivienne McMaster photo walks are self-care. They’re an opportunity to move her body, engage with the world, clear her head and embrace the unexpected.
I recently interviewed Andrea Scher for a piece on lessons on the creative process. (See here.) When she takes photo walks, Andrea keeps the following question in mind: “What is beautiful or interesting that I haven’t noticed before?” She discovers new and incredible things that way: like how the inside of a dandelion resembles a pincushion.
2. Read interesting magazines. Forget “health” publications, which are usually the opposite of self-care. (Honestly, I’m not sure that I’ve ever read a “woman’s” magazine — such as Self, Shape and Women’s Health — and actually felt good about myself or felt inspired about my goals, life or anything in that vicinity.)
3. Take e-courses. I love e-courses. They help you learn more about yourself, delve into your creativity and just have fun. I’ve taken all of Susannah Conway’s e-courses, which I highly recommend. I also really want to take Andrea’s photography classes.
4. Doodle, illustrate, or paint. There’s something so freeing about drawing and painting. It gets us out of our heads and away from all things electronic. Carla Sonheim’s illustrations are a great inspiration. You can’t help but smile (and admire her ingenuity).
5. Pen morning pages. Julia Cameron talks about morning pages in her book The Artist’s Way. Basically, this just entails writing three pages longhand about whatever is on your mind. These pages do not have to be positive. They can be cranky and grumpy. And they can seriously be about anything from laundry to grocery lists to love. From Julia’s website:
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.
Also, check out her video on the topic.
The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.
She also has a video describing artist dates.
7. Take a bike ride. I love riding my bike. I certainly miss the details because I’m whizzing by them. But there’s something invigorating about riding your bike. You breathe in the cool breeze, take in your natural surroundings, and just feel incredibly alive. I interviewed Maya Stein for another creativity piece, and she talked about the importance of movement:
“Riding my bike always helps me tinker with ideas – something about that constancy of movement – going for long walks gifts me with a sense of wild abandon and surprise, and playing team sports helps me think about creativity as a conversation, which gives my projects a lot more texture and interaction.”
8. Figure out what feeds your soul. Self-care is limitless. Consider what activities feel nourishing or downright delicious (as delicious as a juicy apple, warm brownie or bowl of cheesy pasta; at least that’s my version of yummy). Maybe it’s journaling or jotting down a poem a day (like Samantha, who writes one of my all-time favorite blogs). Maybe it’s hiking or walking in the rain. Maybe it’s taking a photography course or planting in your garden. Maybe it’s cooking from a new recipe or dancing every day. Maybe it’s all of the above, depending on your mood.
What are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care? What are your favorite e-courses, blogs and books? What inspires you?