In this season of COVID-19, I have really embraced intentional creative self-care.
It’s really helped me when I’m feeling down, overwhelmed, or mentally and emotionally exhausted.
What’s great is that, whatever your interests are, you can find a creative outlet that speaks to you.
I spoke about the wellness benefits of a regular creative practice in a previous post. Today, I’m sharing steps on how to begin your creative self-care practice.
Step-by-step: how to start your creative self-care practice
Step 1: explore things that spark interest
Creativity is so wide – cooking; home decor; writing; gardening; art journaling; bullet journaling; dancing; curating (e.g. setting up themed boards on Pinterest – one of my favourite creative self-care activities!); and even putting outfits together or dressing up and taking photos – these are all expressions of creativity!
(Don’t tell anyone but, I have been reliving some of my favourite things to do as a teenager: dancing in my bedroom and dressing up with nowhere to go ;-).)
If you use Instagram – go to search, select the tags tab, and put in words that relate to your interests. Explore what comes up and get inspired.
Or you could go onto Pinterest which is essentially a visual search engine. No matter what you’re into, you’re bound to find inspiration there.
Shortlist a few creative pursuits and explore them. Check out tutorials and try the activities out. See what makes your heart sing most.
Step 2: be prepared
Once you’ve narrowed down your interests, ensure you have all the necessary supplies easily at hand. That way, they’re ready for whenever you feel the urge or for whenever you’ve set aside time to play.
Again, you’ll find plenty of this information online. Search something like “Beginner’s tools for …” and you’re bound to get more recommendations than you can get through.
Step 3: plan to take care of yourself
I’m such a planner but, depending on the type of person you are, you can interpret this how you like. Perhaps you’re going to set aside 10 minutes every day, or one longer session a week. Perhaps your activity is a reward after you accomplish certain tasks.
Do whatever works best for you, as long as you give yourself permission to indulge in this creative self-care and work to remove any guilt you might have around it.
Sometimes, I feel guilty when I decide to make some art just for fun, even though I know the length of my to-do list. However, after making, I always feel so refreshed, so much calmer and just generally good inside!
Step 4: get some accountability
You might not want to commit as publicly as I did, when getting back into a regular creative self-care practice, but find some way to create some accountability for yourself.
Even if it’s using an app like HabitShare that displays your chain (aka the “Seinfeld Strategy”) and a percentage for how well you stick to your chosen habit. You can choose to share this with friends or simply use it for your own reference.
Step 5: release the fear of judgement
I’m always coming across people who resist creative practice because of stories they believe about not being good enough at that craft. Many times, these stories were planted decades ago in childhood, when somebody made a negative throw-away comment about something they made.
Remember: this creative self-care practice is for you! Nobody else has to see or experience anything you make. Don’t let fear of judgement keep you from all the wonderful benefits you can enjoy.
I’d like to share some #plantsomethingweekly exercises with you, to give you a taste of the joy of creative self-care. Grab paper and some drawing implements – whatever you have at hand or enjoy – pens, colour pencils, paint etc.
Your favourite fruit or vegetable
This doesn’t have to be about picture-perfect representation. In fact, it’s often more fun to abstract things. Think of the overall shape – can you simplify it? Think of the texture – can you translate it as a pattern? And so on.
5 different ways to draw a leaf
See how diverse the creations are, in the image above? Remember, this is not about reproducing reality – unless of course, that’s your thing.
Colouring for creative self-care
Colouring is another great way to practise creative self-care. I’ve created a few colouring sheets which I share for free with my newsletter readers (sign up here).
You can also instantly download my Orisha Alchemy colour book in my online shop.
I’d love to hear what activities you’re pursuing for your creative self-care and how you came to them.
Please share in the comments below.