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Linda Dessau : Ways Creative Artists Can Improve Self-Care

Creative artists: 5 ways you can improve your self-care today

By Linda Dessau

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. You'll also have more energy, more tolerance for others and yourself and more confidence in your work.

1. Start.

Have you been procrastinating about something? Do you need to update your resume so you're ready for that next audition or show? Edit the last chapter of your book? Call that gallery owner? Learn that new piece? Well, just start. Set your timer for 15 minutes and remind yourself that as soon as it goes off you can stop.

2. Stop.

Today, just for five minutes, STOP. Stop and listen to what your inner muse might be trying to tell you (if it could just get your attention). This process will be easier and more effective if you consciously relax your mind and body first — a few deep breaths might be enough, or a few minutes listening to your favourite relaxing piece of music. If you have the time, try a progressive relaxation exercise where you imagine a ball of light traveling through your body and relaxing each muscle as it passes.

3. Turn around.

Turn around your negative perceptions. When you start beating yourself up for procrastinating, remind yourself that you worked for 15 minutes on that project today! If your inner critic is telling you something else, try this method from my "Performance Readiness" worksheet. Write down everything your inner critic is saying to you. Now, imagine it's saying those things to a small child. Then, for every statement, write down what you would say to comfort and encourage that child and show them another way of looking at things.

4. Play.

Speaking of children, just for today, approach your art as child's play. Paint with your non-dominant hand, play a new instrument or write a song or story using only words that start with the letter "d". What are some other playful things you could try?

5. Rest.

Do whatever it takes to get a good night's sleep. And, just for today, rest when you feel tired. Not getting enough rest and sleep is one of the most direct ways we sabotage ourselves and our health. When's the last time you bounced out of bed in the morning, eager to start the day and feeling completely rested? •

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Linda DessauLinda Dessau helps artists enhance their creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues. More »

3/28/05