About a month ago, someone whose known me a little less than 5 years started a conversation with, “Kiala, I think I know you pretty well…you're the kind of person who...” and I thought – “hmmm, really? Because I’m just getting to know me pretty well after 40 years!!”
The conversation went on to ultimately be about self-care and how this person didn't think I was taking good care of myself because I stay up late making books and I'm always working on so many different projects. Again, I thought, “hmmm…we clearly have two different definitions of self-care.”
Admittedly, I’m one of those “A” type folks with a tremendous amount of creative juice bubbling at the surface. I have a ridiculously strong work ethic that makes most people cringe and I believe in doing what I love and doing it well, but for the past few months, I’ve been tested tremendously in all of those areas, yet the one thing I have learned to do no matter what is happening around me, is take care of me. And I usually do that with ART!!
The one thing I didn't feel compelled to share with my friend of 5 years was that I do take care of myself. Maybe not the way she would do it, but definitely in a way that feels right to me and that makes it possible for me to work on multiple projects at once and to live a life that feels purposeful.
My art IS my self care. Each week when I make a book for BIAD, I'm taking care of myself. When I sit down to work on an art journal page or write a poem or a short story, I'm taking care of myself. These are the things I LOVE to do. These are the things that bring me joy. Art is my meditation. My silent moment in a world of constant noise and movement and chaos. When I'm creating, there is nothing else.
So I use my A.R.T. mantra as a reminder to do the things I love. I change the "T" depending on what I need to attract into my life at the time. One of my favorites is:
To surround yourself with creativity
Another I use is:
To breathe deeply and exhale slowly
That's the point of this post -- managing a creative life is about taking time to care for yourself and caring for yourself starts with defining self-care in your own way.
What looks like self-care for one person may be torture for another. For example, 10 years ago I tried meditating on a daily basis and I hated it. I couldn't get my mind to quiet down enough to feel like I'd actually accomplished what I thought meditation was supposed to accomplish. My husband, on the other hand, could sit in meditation for hours if left alone. Today, I love meditating, I couldn't survive without it, but my meditation practice doesn't look anything like his, yet we achieve similar results -- an overall feeling of peace, calm, and increased mental clarity. Meditating is the way we give ourselves time to hush our minds and listen to our hearts.
I gave myself permission to define my meditation practice for myself. I've done the same thing with self-care. Here's a short list of a few things I consider self-care:
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GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION.
CREATE YOUR OWN DEFINITIONS.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!