June 20, 2016 | Alyson Stanfield

How Do You Take Care of Yourself? (Curious Monday)

We're busy.

Busy in the studio, busy at home, and busy in the office. Everyone is so busy that it's a boring topic. I've even made it an important goal to never utter the words I'm so busy.

But lots of the busy-ness involves sitting on our butts. And when we're not doing that, we might just be so involved in deadlines and commitments that we forget to eat.

Blue painting of birds by Bill Jacka
©Bill Jacka, Gila Azul. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches. Used with permission.

None of this is good.

Today's question originated from one of my Inner Circle members: How do you take care of yourself?

I'm interested in hearing about your nutrition, exercise, healthcare, pampering, boundaries, etc.

Let 'em all spill out in a comment below.

Read about and subscribe to Curious Monday posts.

87 comments add a comment
  • I read, and garden and enjoy my family & friends.
    …and I simply LOVE my Art Career.

  • Practicing yoga regularly and daily walks has helped me! Both are activities that help to press the “reset” button for me. I come back to my art with fresh eyes and a renewed spirit!

  • I work out as soon as I get up in the morning.

  • This year I signed up for a year-long coaching program (Precision Nutrition) to introduce healthy habits back into my life. I had to “re-learn” how to eat healthy (too many diets and too many programs left me confused). I am now scheduling my workouts on Sundays, signed up for a healthy meal delivery service to accommodate the majority of my weekly meals, cleaned out my pantry so healthy habits are a default. I find working out is helping me with my art business and giving me a lot more energy than I had before.

  • Becki Hesedahl

    Ow! Just sitting here thinking about how much time I waste on my phone first in morning with coffee. I wake up at 5 or 6 but seldom with dress before 9. Had very busy last week and just felt sick by Friday. Not good at balance. Too little healthy food, too much wine, too much Facebook, too much smoking, too little exercise and too little painting. Too many projects that aren’t my own art – volunteering as head of local arts organization. I need a better schedule and make changes. And I know I am the only one who can do it.

  • I do ok when it comes to food, not great but ok. At least I eat enough, and breakfast :)
    Exercise could definitely do with an increase, and the same can be said for water.
    I do pretty good when it comes to relaxation and feeding my mind but the skincare is sketchy.

  • Margit

    I exercise three times a week (yoga, pilates,etc), go for walks frequently and try to prepare healthy food! I do not always succeed, but at least I try????

  • Catherine Willey

    I cook and eat good foods; trying new recipes all the time. For energy and inspiration I hike with my dog. The exercise is great and nature displays a limitless array of color, design, light effects, etc. for inspiration!

  • The isolation of working alone in my studio drags me down. I know that scheduling time with family and friends is important, but with the pressure of deadlines, that’s usually put on the back burner. I do get out for a walk nearly every day.

  • Last Dec I experienced a major knee injury which required me to be on crutches, no weight-bearing on the leg for 3 months. I realized then how I had let me physical well-being go the previous year as I was swamped in the studio. I didn’t feel I could take the time away from my work to exercise beyond regular dog walks and some biking. Since getting off crutches I made a commitment to regain my physical well-being. That means 2x/week hour sessions with a trainer at my physical therapist’s (they made arrangements for me to have inexpensive sessions since I have limited funds) as well as regular, training bike rides. The trainer is focusing on the glutes as their strength makes all movement easier and takes the stress off knees. After 2 months I am dead lifting 50 lbs as well as other exercises. This regimen has led to a clearer mind and more efficient use of energy in the studio as well. While not really pertinent I will note that I am 67 years old.

  • I have an exercise class that is not negotiable. Wednesdays 9-10am. no exceptions. it keeps me on track with everything else.

  • I try to make cooking and shopping for food a fun event…..and as a way to do this, I enjoy going to the local produce stand to get the most nutritious foods at the best prices. Produce stands to me are like looking at art…all the colorful fruit and veggies are pure JOY! I believe that if I don’t take care of myself physically, my creative life suffers.

    I also allow myself time for walks on the beach, and time for taking photographs of native birds and adolescent sea turtles that I see when visiting a local State park. Since I live in Florida, I have many subjects which are inspiring! My photo excursions are fuel to my creative spirit…..and these times away from my studio actually ignite new inspiration within my paintings.

    Life is SHORT!!!!….and as artists we absolutely MUST find ways to keep ourselves healthy and active. It’s sometimes a real challenge to do this, but when we do allow time for healthy activities, I believe that it makes all the difference in our work!

  • I put art in the perspective that it is in my soul and spirit. But to make sure I stay fresh by eating right, and staying physical fit. I play tennis, and work out. I also spend time with my family and friends that help ground me and inspire me. I live and breathe art, but not to burn out, I do all this naturally, so I don’t have to thing about it. It works for me…

  • I love my garden, spending time with my grown up kids, and outdoor distance swimming. I walk or bike the 2 miles to my studio when I can, and try really hard to eat healthy foods–but fail miserably on both too often. I’m awful about taking breaks at the computer and/or easel, sleeping enough, not working til I drop, and finding social time that’s pure downtime—still seeking that elusive balance!!

  • I get up about 45 minutes before the rest of the household and take quiet time for myself in prayer. I have found that even the busiest days go much smoother if I start my day that way. When I don’t take that time, I don’t feel focused and my work is less efficient. I started up the practice of yoga again 2-3 times per week in May after about a year of not doing it regularly. It keeps me flexible and feeling strong.

  • Summer is my busiest time. I make sure I walk in the morning. And Amazon grocery delivery is a life-saver after a long day outdoors at the kiosk. This summer, my priority is to make sure we have vegetables every day. And I’m also working on making my lunches in advance so things aren’t so crazy in the mornings.

  • the Goal, is to eat healthy foods, exercise daily, maintain a positive attitude.
    Yea right?!!
    Its just a goal. Most importantly is to not take anything soo seriously.
    Just keep painting. :-)

  • Having fibromyalgia, self care is very important to me. I make sure and include time for exercise five days a week, good sleeping habits, and time to cook good meals. I also need my rest time to stay healthy, and make sure and include time for family and friends as well as church activities. It takes some time management sometimes, and am not able do as much art as I would otherwise, but a healthy balance in my life is more important than the projects I could be getting done.

  • I cook enough healthy food to last the week, and suppliment with fresh veggies. This recipe in particular keeps me satisfied for hours, with yogurt and berries: https://food52.com/recipes/28886-my-new-roots-life-changing-loaf-of-bread . Walking is the best for me, and yoga. Balancing work time with family and friends is a constant moving target, but I need both to sustain me. Meditation/contemplation in the mornings to center before work is good.

  • Mornings are committed to Exercise and Art. Period.

    I live in a small town so social needs are met just by walking down the street and saying hello to people. I am proud to be on our Design Review Board which helps protect the historic beauty of this place. My husband and I have an art gallery on Main St. and host events local events.
    Most important for my health and happiness is to politefully decline from distracting activities and make the most of my amazing days.

  • I am lacking balance, which I used to be queen of. I love to cook, so eating healthy is easy, but the lack of activity is taking it’s toll. I recently bought a bike and a yoga mat. My intentions are supreme!

  • I recently sold my day job, my business of 35 years and I’m now launching into my art career. To take care of myself, first and foremost this year,I am taking care of old business and getting it off my table, off of my mind, and caught up to date so that it is not worrying me. Some of this includes house maintenance, some of it includes personal maintenance, and some of it includes spiritual maintenance, getting caught up and clearing my workspace on every level. My friends seem to be caught up in their personal stuff too, but we still try to make time to get together for a little silliness now and then. my chief way of taking care of myself is paddling — stand up paddle boarding or canoeing. At the very least I will take a walk in the woods or go sit on the dock, quiet my mind, get grounded, and “refill the well”. Today I walked a labyrinth with my best friend, to honor the summer solstice.

  • Noel Hawke

    Getting enough sleep has become important. Seven hours a night is my golden number. I’m happily married but alone time to paint or do other things matters to me, too. I volunteer by heading the local, 60-year-old arts organization. I’m also working through my state’s program to help artists make a sustainable business of their art. (Allyson, I reserve the right to sign up with you later!) Arthritis in my hands gives me a sense of urgency to learn as fast as possible to paint well, so I do not spend a lot of time entertaining. My well-being comes from a combination of drive and acceptance. Life is indeed short, but this time in my 60s is glorious!

    • I agree…the 60s are really great! Or maybe it’s being retired from working for others to working for myself. But who knew that getting older has lots of pluses!

  • I meditate each morning. Take two yoga classes a week, read in the afternoon for an hour with my legs over a bolster for my arthritic back and try to work in the studio at least 3 times per week for a complete day.

  • I found a water aerobics class that I now do twice a week and a wonderful yoga class once a week. A few years ago with a health issues I began a process of eliminating meat from my diet and now most dairy. I feel better. My art mate Hollie, a rescue dog, keeps me getting up from the desk or easel regularly for a walk or playing in the back yard. Best of all I realize I can’t do it all so I do my best to pace myself and work to the point I am stressed.

  • I’m chronically ill so self care has to come first. Mine include take meds several times a day, clinical pilates once a week, daily hot baths, see seven different health professionals at different intervals, a daily walk. I think that’s the really important stuff.

  • I go to the gym three days a week (M – W – F) I take a walk every day. I take my meds and try to eat somewhat sanely… Realization that we are not immortal came into view about 2 years ago. This routine has become very important and is not negotiable. I am 65 yrs. old and have many more paintings to complete before this ride comes to an end….

  • I am a Garden Artist. I paint gardens and flowers all winter & when the spring comes I immerse myself in my outside garden. During the winter to stay fit I work out with a personal trainer 2x/week to keep up my strength and flexibility for gardening season. I wear a fitbit and aim for at least 5,000 steps a day. I love to cook and I like knowing what’s in my food so that takes care of my nutrition issues. I’ve created a life that I dreamed of. I’m doing what I love and have removed toxic situations and relationships. Life is sweet!!!

  • I get out for a walk or bike ride with one or both of my kids nearly every day when the weather permits. My son prefers to go walking with me and we discuss various topics the entire time. My daughter prefers to ride bikes and we have mini-races along the way. Sometimes we all go together, but most of the time I end up going daily and alternating between walking with my son one day and biking with my daughter the next.

    We dine out an average of once a week, so I cook the majority of our meals. I try to prepare healthier meals, but sometimes it’s about what I can cook the fastest after I get home from my day job so I can have time in the studio.

    I have recently started keeping a journal. It helps to just clear the thoughts out of my head – from new project ideas to reflections on goals to outright venting frustrations about the things beyond my control. I started with a plan to write in it daily but, even when I miss days, I find it just helps to write whenever I feel like I’ve got too much on my mind.

  • Having a dog who doesn’t “go” in the yard makes it easy to exercise – I need to walk him twice a day. It’s a great reason to have to be outside and the incentive is obvious ;^)

  • I’ve always taken pretty good care of myself, but what I’ve found since becoming a painter is that I spend almost all my extra money on paint supplies. So now I’m noticing clothes with holes and of course paint stains all over them and having to force myself to go out and buy something so I’ll look decent at art receptions.

  • After a heart surgery two months ago, my self care includes eating live foods as opposed to processed (I’m getting better at this), walking at least 30 min daily, adequate sleep at night and morning devotions with my husband to prepare for our day. My husband has special health needs too, so we both find slowing down helpful in this season. I’ve had to relax my expectations a bit and re-evaluate my goals. I take myself on dates to bookstores or to buy art supplies and occasionally, treat myself to a mani-pedi or massage. Besides creative time, my responsibilities alongside a husband in ministry demand much from this introvert, so cocooning to store up energy to function is critical for me. I’m learning that it’s definitely ok to take care of me and that means listening with fine tuned ears when my body says REST.

  • Liz

    Write 3 psges first thing every morning for clarity.Do Classical stretch most mornings andmake fresh veggie fruit mix smoothies to avoid afternoon caffiene and carb loading snacks.

  • I make exercise part of my MUST DO every day – if I am not healthy the art can not happen! I also have started to carve out “imagination time” daily to let my mind wander (it’s kind of like meditation or visualization) I find I am able to focus in on things I am working on and I come up with new great ideas -it keeps my creative bucket full

  • I have asthma which keeps me indoors on Ozone Action Days – Orange, so no daily walk. Sitting a lot isn’t good for anyone, so I get up and walk around, do my “Walk Walk Walk” dvd, if the weather/air is good, I always go outside to tend my gardens, walk, drink LOTS of water, get at least 8-9 hours sleep/night, nap when I feel tired and keep in touch with friends. Getting away from the studio is healthier and keeps me sharp and more creative. Disciplined myself to Facebook once a day. It’s tuff! Phone dings with message so not tempted to “take a little break and see what so-n-so is doing”. Check email 1st am and after supper. We don’t eat any red meat, focusing on chicken, turkey, seafood, or just a veggie based meal. I play in a band too! Since I retired 5 years, I’ve FINALLY learned to take care of me – no one else will! Pushing myself to do things results in resentment, even orders! Not good! So, I take a break from art every few days or so. It’s amazing the ideas i come up with to paint/draw/sketch. Who would have thought a mermaid bookmark would sell!!! Bottom line is – like the airline air mask demo – take care of yourself BEFORE helping others. LIVE, LAUGH, and LOVE!

  • Number one my doctors tell me is “get enough sleep” which is difficult because getting to sleep is really hard for me. Something Alyson said recently really registered with me. I’ve always struggled to “get up early” like everyone else does to go paint. She said: “If you’re not a morning person then for Pete’s sake, don’t say you’re going to get up
    early and go to the studio. Schedule your studio time when you are most creative and
    productive.” Thanks for that Alyson! Never dawned on me! LOL
    Second thing I do is cook and make sure we are eating as healthy as we can. And I strive to maintain a positive attitude!

  • I joined a gym last November and have been going 5 days a week but recently cut that back to 3, simply because it really eats into my production time. I go first thing in the morning, as early as I can and workout for about 1.5 hours, cardio and weights.

    I am determined to eat as healthily as possible – not always possible but I try. I make 95% of food from scratch including bread once every two weeks (mostly my husband eats that). I have fresh food and we grow our own organically as well as raise chickens for eggs. I’ve reduced my caffeine intake and drink more tea and lots of water. Then running up 3 flights to the washroom after water rental time is up adds to my exercise! :)

    Its hard work to eat and live well and remain healthy and takes a considerable amount of effort (and money) to do so, but I am determined to try.

    The payoff? I have lost 20lbs and am maintaining that. I have lots more stamina, can heave around boxes and large canvasses with ease and muscles really help when painting with a knife standing for hours. It also helps with teaching when I’m on my feet for up to six hours at a time.

  • I go to the gym ever Monday & Wednesday, working out at home the other days. Friday is yoga therapy. My husband and I focus on eating well and cooking at home most nights with fresh food, locally grown if possible.

  • For perspective, I am preparing for an Art Market, navigating a rocky rapid in the river of relationship, and handleing an ongoing chronic illness, so for me self-care right now looks like:
    Choosing cooling eye pads instead of under-eye concealer at the makeup counter, then putting time with said eye-pads on my to do list as a daily reminder.
    Jornaling, praying, and reading my meditation book every morning.
    Forcing myself to make and drink a green smoothie even when I feel to anxious to eat.
    Staying in the day, even if I have to take it one moment at a time.
    Asking myself: how important is it? Do I really need to do it?
    Closing the studio door and blasting the Beastie Boys to knock some work out, then recognizing when it arises, my need for silence.
    Spending time journaling ( I use prompts from Jennifer Louden’s Life Organizer book)
    Reading Lisa Sonora Beam’s musings on the creative life “Sketchbooks”
    Giving myself permission to stop, for 15 minutes, for the night, for the evening, and watch tv, read a escapist novel , or attend a drum lodge.

  • Susan Troy

    I do yoga at home three times a week and walk in the Regional Park near us with the dog. Also go to aqua aerobics during the summer. I also garden which is very restorative and make myself take one day out of the studio and away from the computer every week. Eating and sleeping well also helps. I love the comments posted so far. It really dispels the myth of the neurotic, drug addicted artist. Refreshing!

  • I make it part of my routine to do the things that I need. These include time in the morning to enough a cup of tea, a daily walk, and time to read. Those are my feel good things that I do every day.

  • I have two dogs that I take for a long walk each morning. and as I live in the country that is very relaxing for me. I also go to yoga once a week and am considering Pilates as well.
    Besides that, I read and watch tv to unwind.

  • Julie Drew

    I have a morning routine of quiet time while I heat sore muscles and eat breakfast. Then I take half hour to 45 min stretching/ exercises. Then I am ready to tackle the email and get started on the day.
    I follow a healthy diet that works for me.

  • Corinne McNamara

    I hired a professional organizer team to help jump-start clearing out 40+ years of household detritus. They’ve come 3 times in the past year to keep us on track. As I look around at cleared out, freshly painted living spaces, it’s as if a weight has been removed. I’ve just finished going through years of calendar/journals related to my old job and am relieved that I can let them (and a lot of related painful memories) go to the shredder without hesitation. The next step is sorting out my art room.

    Yes, I need to exercise more, get out more, be with friends more, loose weight, and on and on. But the feelings related to letting go of “stuff” I don’t need or use have got me started on those goals, too.

  • Exercise. Get enough sleep. Meditation. Outings with friends and family. Massage. Art group.

  • I am PASSIONATE about self-care. Needless to say, my dentist loves me (I have 7 implements and 1 device for the evening, 3 for the morning). Night creams, eye cream, day cream, body lotion… I love taking care of my body. Pumice stone in the shower and foot cream goes on before bed as does lavender oil and my pillow gets a ‘sleep spray every night.’

    40 minutes to an hour of yoga every morning without fail, part of which (multiple sunrise saluting) is geared to cardio. This is followed by what most people would consider an elaborate breakfast (fruit, veggie juice, spices, nuts, cocoa and more) that makes me feel as if I am the queen of the forest.

    My life usually feels like heaven on earth… partially because I make it so.

  • I often forget to eat and sleep but one of my best friends often remind me when we chat she just texts me to remind me. These days I make sure I remember to eat AND drink water very regularly, and I go into my lounge room, sit on one of my meditation cushions and meditate, and sometimes yoga. Other times, I go outside into my backyard and look out to the view of the rolling hills which is important for my eyes that have been focusing on close view – artwork or the computer. Sometimes I go and read a book in the lounge room or I go out for a cuppa and cake with a friend or on my own. I have learned it is so important to take regular breaks and to relax for a bit especially relax the eyes.

  • 5 Days a week I set my alarm for 5:30 am, have a coffee and hit the trail with my dog Ollie and other artists with their dogs. We do a 2 mile hike on the West Coast ocean trail that over looking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. At the end we usually talk art for 30 minutes before heading home to our studios.

  • I work out first thing in the morning when I get up, eat healthy foods that I mostly cook myself, spend time with my family, and try to maintain a positive attitude!

  • I exercise several times a week doing endurance sprints for 20 to 30 minutes
    on a recumbent exercise cycle. I lift small weights.
    I eat fresh farmers market organic sustainable foods.
    My main concerns this week are the PG&E smart meter that is 9 feet from me in our new house, it has made me very ill. Think I am crazy? Google TEDxBerkley, Jeremy Johnson smart meters and the dangers of microwaves and EMF.
    Studio in my small room was in an area I found I just could not sit in… really detested that corner. Sure enough my head was withing 3 feet of the damned meter. Moved the paint area but still too much EMF. Now considering best Faraday solution because I feel sick in this room. I would move but no cash flow at all and no energy. Go to a doctor? Why? EMF will not even be considered because the FCC says it is safe.

    I am taking care of me this week by, solving this unproductive health threat.
    But I still must sell work and so far have found no sales or commissions in weeks.

  • Great neighbors to go with for a morning kayak to catch up on the news and enjoy the water and wildlife. Some times go for lovely hikes and take pictures to get inspired by. Each evening I sit in my hot tub and just relax.

  • Linda

    Every weekend I regularly have two all-day outdoor art shows, one at the beach with a small art group and the other at a winery/vineyard. As well as being out in the fresh air, I get exercise loading and unloading my car with everything I use in my setups. I can’t imagine a healthier work environment. I’ve always eaten mostly healthy and continue to do so, during the week I have ballet class and need to follow a dancers diet. I have art groups, meetings, etc. two days a week and do my computer and inventory work on Mondays. Since I’ve gotten more organized, I have Wednesday and Thursday free as my “weekend”. To balance out the rest of the week and to get my brain out of “work mode”, I go to the beach & walk on the pier (I’m 10 min. from the ocean in California), go to the botanical garden nearby, read for enjoyment. My husband and I try to go out to dinner & watch a DVD or BlueRay movie once every other week. Something I haven’t seen mentioned in comments, and have to work on myself, is that while we’re doing healthy things, we need to enjoy the moment rather than just do things & think about work, etc. This is psychologically taking care of ourselves and is extremely important!

  • Lynne Reichhart

    One thing I will never do is forget to eat! I love food and am trying to eat healthier. I also exercise nearly every day before lunch. My painting time is typically from 9 until workout time. I also have a fitness band to remind me to MOVE!

  • I make sure that I do my morning run or walk in the foothills every morning. It’s the first thing I do after I get out of bed. It gives me time to just be in nature, take in the beautiful view…and move. After that I can tackle almost anything…almost.

  • I start my day off with prayer & meditation, have a balanced breakfast & then a short walk. Then I’m ready to go.

  • I started making smoothies at least every other day to get my fruits & veggies easier! Thank you “Ninja”. Exercise is volleyball once a week, pushing a 60 lb stroller on 2 mile walks about twice a week & chasing my kids and stretching most days. My studio time is nights & weekends. I try to work on Marketing a few times a week but wish I did more! Taking care of my mental health has become more important every year. I journal, read about others’ stories and try to stay connected to my sisters & dad now that my mom recently passed.

  • Daily water fitness and a daily nap or meditation. I try to take weekends off (not easy with so many events!) or a mid-week day at home. I watch my weight, and allow for volunteering and family time, too. I am obsessive about getting 8 hours sleep. The short version: I pace myself, live in the moment, and strive for balance…medical appointments are regularly scheduled, too. I don’t FEEL as busy as this makes me seem…

  • My nutrition is very good but I admit it was better in San Diego where I lived for 30 years. And my exercise was better too. I not only worked out at the gym 4 days a week but I also walked along Mission Bay and the LaJolla cove. That was fun! Now I work out 2 days a week for 1 1/2 hr. And I stretch at home for an hour 3 days a week. We have plenty of stairs-some going up to the loft and others going down to my studio. I think I get enough exercise. It’s been too hot to walk (90 degrees). Definitely not San Diego weather. I live 30 miles from Chicago. I see my doctors regularly especially the dermatologist who has found one skin cancer and some pre- cancerous lesions. Must be all that outdoors walking in San Diego? Also I did a lot of landscape painting outdoors. Like Cindy, I usually maintain a positive attitude.

  • Riding my bike and generally being in constant motion while in the studio provide some exercise, but it’s not enough.
    I often am not great in terms of preparing lunches to take to the studio.
    For mental health, I sit in circle with a women’s group once a week and have a strong spiritual life.
    Currently, I’m struggling with boundaries at the studio. My new studio is in a great neighbourhood, and lots of artists, clients and others want to ‘drop by’ which breaks up my momentum.

  • Self care and me time are a must for me for now. In past years actual exercise, walks or swimming weren’t part of my routine yet working hard was my main source of movement. I painted, stretched canvases, moved big logs around to sculpt on and knew that wasn’t enough for myself. I was doing all this amongst huge upheavals in my life that included huge amounts of stress with no self care.
    Starting last fall I hired a trainer/nutritionist all in one person who I adore and love. I exercise with her once to twice a week plus we meet about nutrition. For breakfast I have a kale, tri-berry and avocado smoothie. I’ll have a snack sometimes in between meals with hummus/vegies and eat lots of salads, fish, turkey. I swim at least once if not twice a week plus ride a stationary bike. Eating healthy and taking time for self is so important in the early morning to read, prayer or meditate. It’s a lifestyle now for me!

  • Own my thoughts and feelings
    Meditate
    Eat local
    Walk a lot
    Kayak
    laugh
    laugh
    laugh

  • Yowza! I feel healthier and happier just reading everyone’s self-care practices! This was a brilliant topic to introduce.

    The most significant of my self-care is internal (mind/heart/spirit), which makes for great relationships, which is a huge factor in a super-happy life. Physically, I’m very active (mostly cycling & hiking in this season). I have a regular tai chi practice. Once in awhile I do something rare & special for myself, ex., soak in a bath.

  • Carolyn

    Yoga, smoothies, long walks, I don’t set a wake up alarm on the weekends, hot baths and a monthly massage. I can’t fit all of these in everyday but I follow my feelings and do what I feel would be most nourishing in the moment. And most importantly I try to create some alone time so that I can be with my thoughts.

  • It varies but I work on some kind of self-care practice daily. I meditate, I exercise, I drink lots of water, I get out and meet people, I get in my studio, I ask questions, I engage in my communities, I call my friends, I make progress on my goals, I let things go, I work hard, I take naps, I see other artists shows, I cook my family healthy meals, I integrate my life and my work so it feels aligned with my values, I call my mother, I help my siblings , I stay in the present, I keep the ego in check, spend a few hours in the garden, listen to my body, stretch, or take a yoga class.

  • Deb Wicks

    It took a “your numbers aren’t directionally correct” from my doctors to give me the realization that health must come first. So, last year, I enrolled in the YMCA’s “Take Control” weight loss program, and this year partnered with a trainer – nutrition and fitness now come first, before my art! The health results, as well as improved energy and self-esteem, have positively transcended into my art world and success. If you take care of yourself first – family and art will surely benefit!

  • I have been so lousy at self care in the past (and endured the resulting health gremlins that result!) that I wrote myself a book about it!

    For me, meditation and yoga are at the top of the list. Journal keeping, connecting with family and friends, creating stuff just for me (especially important as creatives, is to be creative for our own delight!) practicing gratitude, planning my days, setting boundaries, choosing my attitude and letting go of perfectionism are all part of my self care toolkit.

    This is a great question, and a real issue for everyone – not just artists. I’ve been surprised at the “Me too!” response from people who have read my book. From all walks of life, men and women, all ages, all kinds of professions… seems all human beings on planet Earth right now are struggling with this!

  • I do a pretty decent job taking care of my physical health by eating a healthy diet that closely follows the Paleo diet, and exercising most days over an hour total, including a 30 minute walk, plus several shorter walks and bike rides during the day. I do need to better address my stress level, and look forward to getting a massage very soon!

  • Barbara Muir

    The word sacrosanct popped into my head one morning not long ago just as I
    was getting up. And I realized that one thing I do to take care of myself
    is to hold onto a morning routine even with a fluctuating schedule, and
    different wake up times. I meditate in the morning, preferably for 20
    minutes, then make a coffee, and read for half an hour if possible. I always
    have a book on the go, and that is my treat. Plus if at all possible I don’t let
    anything interfere with my weekend time with my husband. We go to
    the market, maybe see friends, sometimes take in a major art show, or a movie,
    and most of all spend time together, even if it’s just to talk to the cats and
    the dog while we eat lunch. On art show weekends, life gets a bit rushed, but
    we still try and stick to some of our favorite routines, like buying roses at
    our favorite flower shop.

  • I used to love to run, but don’t anymore so I had to find an alternative. I started Yoga and exercises at the gym 3 times a week. Play with my puppy and Roux the cat. Studio time is during the day until 6:30pm. Since my studio is home; I take nap when I feel like it. I spent time in my yard, I love spicy food so I grow my own peppers. I grow up on organic food and natural remedies. If I have to go to the doctor it is because natural remedies cannot do anything. I am a believer in herbal remedies, essential oils. My alone time is spent reading.

  • At the moment I’m in charge of my parents care as well as everything else so I have had to get serious on this topic. Yoga, gardening, daily journal writing and meditation. I can’t say I’m perfect with all of these regularly, but keeping them in mind each day makes it easier as well as not beating myself up for not being perfect.

    • Hang in there Alys! I’m there too and one thing I found out is you can only do as well as you can do. It doesn’t serve you to beat yourself up for not being superwoman.

    • Evonne

      That is a tough position, but sounds like you are doing well. Yes, there is no perfection in care giving. I would add to be extra gentle with yourself during this time.

  • Gosh! Reading these posts makes me think that someone should do a study on the healthy practices of artists! They sure fly in the face of that outmoded stereotype of the hard living, self-destructive, loner artist!

    Decades of experimentation (with lots of redirection..that is, failures) and certification as a holistic nurse have resulted in the following strategies…

    Massage every 2 weeks- lots of evidenced-based health benefits…been doing this for …yikes…30years!
    Indoor cycling at the “Y” – self- competitive, safe, fun with the right teacher and peers
    Indoor cycling at home while watching movies and football with my husband- go Team!
    Yoga stretch routine in the morning…although not as consistent as I used to be
    Simple, organic, whole, in-season, local food most if the time
    Living in a place that feeds my heart and soul
    And probably most important….meaningful relationships and purposeful work that I love.

  • Bill

    Sunscreen, and a lot of it. Plein air painting wouldn’t be the same without it.

  • Andrew

    Another good question.

    My list of what I do for me is simple.
    1) Leave work on time / Minimize overtime
    2) Walk and play with my dog
    3) Putz in my garden
    4) Weekly date night with my wife
    5) Occasionally sit back and enjoy a good beer, glass of wine, or a fine single malt.
    6) Have someone to talk to, in order to vent of frustration, keep problems in perspective, and to offer up insight and suggestions.

    Eating right in our house is a normal, and I use my sketchcrawls and plein air trips to get additional exercise, and when the weather is good, I ride my bicycle to work.

  • Oh wow, I need this reminder. We have just returned from a trip that ended with my husband’s medical emergency. (8 days in Croatian hospital a whole other story).
    Meditation, a twenty minute session am and pm. It keeps me center and avoid spinning out of control, and helps me retain focus.
    if I’m truly overwhelmed I use the 25 minute approach. Do something for 25 mins.

  • it is so good to read all the comments am recently evolved as an artist and i have almost forgot to eat drink and sleep or even go out … i thought i was good to do improve work quality if i continue doing that but now, am gonna relax a little bit!! :)

  • I admire all these artists who exercise. The main thing that I do to take care of myself is to make sure I rest. Well I have post-polio syndrome and repetitive strain injury, and the combination means that I have to be very careful not to get tired.
    I read that it is very common for artists to get RSI.
    I ought to be more careful about eating healthily, but too often my hand can barely cut bread and cheese after a couple of hours painting and drawing. So I have started growing salad vegetables in pots on my studio windowsill. It is nice to pull fresh leaves off to nibble on whenever I want. They have to be in the studio as it is the only cat free room. One of my cats likes to nibble leaves and the plants don’t recover.
    I stay cheerful because of my Buddhist chanting, and if I need a complete break I escape into an entertaining book for a day or two.

  • I go through seasons. Some I take care of myself and others I don’t. I recently woke up to the NOT of taking care of myself. STopped and looked at life. I realized I had to cut some top priorities from my life. My plan was to start taking care of myself in teh fall, but I realized that I can’t wait. SOOOOO, NEW SEASONS!

    • Evonne

      Congratulations on your new season!!! I go through them as well. Decided today to relax and enjoy summer!! The work will probably be higher quality as a result. Breathe….balance…..trust that all is well.

  • Meditate every morning and do my back exercises everyday. I go to a Yoga class twice a week. Eat really well. Write studio on my calendar each day I have to spend it there so I don’t make other apts. Have an artists group that meets every other month. Have several artist friends I contact regularly and both give and receive input from. Take time out each day with my feet up to read and maybe nap for 1/2 hr.-1 hr. depending on what else I have going. Belong to two book clubs.

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