Three Steps to Making Art a Self-Care Practice.

Three Steps to Making Art a Self-Care Practice.

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What is Self-Care, Anyway?

Self-care is a huge buzz word these days. But what, actually is it?

By definition, self-care is primarily doing things that take care of yourself. That means spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical support. A lot of the times it’s about doing things you love. However, as my dear friend Ash has said, “ Sometimes, self-care means doing things that are good for me, but not necessarily things I love.” For me, I would rather drink four cups of coffee than four cups of water. Also, I have a serious sweet tooth and could eat sweets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The way I see it, self-care is about tuning into your body, mind, and soul, listening to their needs, and then responding by doing what they need. And it’s never a one-size-fits-all. It’s never perfect. Hence, why we need to cultivate self-care practices.

Why is Self-Care Important?

Self-care is so very important to the health of our lives. If we neglect ourselves, how can we be at our best? You have to put on your oxygen mask before you put on anyone else’s. Self-care is the same way. We have to tend to our bodies, minds, and souls before we can tend to anyone else’s. I grew up in a culture that deemed this as selfish. And I struggle with deep guilt when I take time away from those I care for on a daily basis.

Self-care is not selfish.

It is what we must do to be our best selves. Rest and recharge are vital for function. And it can come in various forms— jogging, drinking water, sleeping, going to therapy, taking medication, taking a walk, meditating, reading a good book, going on a date ( with yourself or someone), etc… At the end of the day, we must believe self-care is important enough to motivate us to actually practice it.

Also, we have to incorporate self-care routines that are priorities to us. I can love the idea of yoga all day long, but if I don’t think it is a priority to my life, then I’m not going to do it. Not to mention, I don’t think it’s fun…

And I love my sister-friend Ash and the idea that self-care often means doing things that are good, but not things we love. I think she would agree with me that there has to be some fun and glitter and Kesha involved.

Self-Care for the Artist. (Yes, you are an artist…)

If you have landed here, it’s probably because you like art and/or consider yourself crafty. Perhaps, you want to incorporate some fun into your daily routine to enhance your life and practice intentional self-care. Maybe it’s art, maybe it’s something else. You just don’t really know where to begin.

Does any of this sound like you?

Deciding to begin is the hardest part. Pat yourself on the back! It’s all downhill from here. After deciding to begin, follow these steps to making art a self-care practice.

1.Create a Designated Art Space

This is my current art space— a little messy, a little organized. Art is everywhere. So are supplies. Nothing fancy.

This is my current art space— a little messy, a little organized. Art is everywhere. So are supplies. Nothing fancy.

Creating a designated art space gives you space and freedom to make art whenever you want.. Take a look around your home and decide where you can put your art supplies permanently. We are less likely to devote time daily if we have to lug supplies in and out of a closet or box. Make it easier on yourself by finding a table/desk, or purchasing one, and deem it “The Art Desk.” I love and use this one from IKEA. This table is for your art!

Leave your supplies out on it, make a mess, whatever you need to do to make it feel inviting. My art space is my favorite area in the house. It doesn’t have to be an entire room. It can be a little closet or a nook in your bedroom (like mine). The goal is to NOT make the kitchen table your art table. I’ve had to force the family to eat in the living room before and it wasn’t fun. Haha!

2. Make a Plan

Once you have your space set up, look at your calendar and designate time and days you will sit down and make art. This could be as simple as, “I am going to paint for two hours, three days a week.” or as detailed as, “I am going to paint on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 4PM to 6PM.” You know what will work best for you. If you are like me, you know that you don’t like to be tied to a rigorous time schedule, but won’t stick to the plan if it isn’t somewhat detailed. So, for people like me, designating days to paint is more important than designating times. But do whatever works for you.

The bottom line_ make a plan to focus on your self-care.

3. Take a Class

There are so many classes out there for you to choose from. Whether you want to try something brand new or hone in on a craft you have had for a while, taking a class is a fantastic way to generate excitement for yourself. When I first decided to get serious about watercolors, I sat at my kitchen table (I wasn’t kidding) and watched YouTube videos and took Skillshare classes and practiced until I was comfortable enough to follow my own lead. And I realized that I wanted more. I wanted to try more and do more. I was obsessed with watercolor!

Furthermore, taking a class is a good way to dip your toes into something new— especially, if you aren’t sure what you are interested in. Trying new things is scary and can feel daunting. There are so many kinds of art and so many styles. The key is to try, decide if you like it or not, and then move forward. If you don’t like watercolor, try paper collaging. If you aren’t sure about pottery, try polymer clay. The possibilities are endless. The goal is to keep going.

Practicing self-care through art is a lifelong journey. There are ruts and detours along the way. To ensure you make progress in your self-care practice, sign up for my I AM AN ARTIST creative intensive. This intensive focuses on three things; nurturing creativity, learning alcohol ink art, and developing community. Not only will I cover how to stimulate your creativity, but I will also teach you the tools it takes to build a sustainable creative practice that can serve you for the rest of your life. Sign ups are open now and will close March 31. If you secure your spot by February 28, you will get the program 50% off.

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