CREATING PERSONAL DEFINITIONS OF SELF CARE
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!!
A.R.T. -- it's an acronym I have posted in my art/guest room. It's my creativity and self-care mantra.
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
At 40, it's easy to recall a time when I did a lot of things that I didn't love. I've had more than 30 different jobs (I started working at 15 and I've had a job ever since --sometimes 3 jobs at once) and hated most of them. At one time, my idea of self-care meant something totally different than it does today. But even then, I followed my own definition.
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:
How do you define self-care? What are some of the things you do to take time for yourself and take care of yourself?
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION.
CREATE YOUR OWN DEFINITIONS.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!
I'm Kiala, a student of life first and foremost. And I'm also a published poet, book binder, fountain pen collector, Life Alchemist & Intuitive Soul Guide. I make things, paint things, and write things. I love teaching & empowering women to live with intention. Please, grab a cup of your favorite warm drink, a fountain pen, and your favorite journal. Let's connect!
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