5 Self-Care Practices for Maximizing Your Creative Flow + FREE Training & PDF

 

I have been making these five self-care practices into more of a regular, daily practice as I see the benefits they have on my energy and creativity. While I can’t say I came up all of these myself (no, I didn’t invent meditation!), I’m sharing them because I hope you’ll consider trying them to boost your creative output and improve your life. I’m also sharing them as a way to hold myself accountable: I’m publicly committing to maintaining these habits—they’re that good!

 1. No Negative Self Talk

Did your parents have high expectations of you?  Are you a people pleaser? Are you judgmental of others, even silently?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, I am certain that you have a voice in your mind that harshly criticizes you. This voice is often the voice of critical parents or authority figures. Sometimes the voice is our own creation.

No matter how the voice began, its effects can be damaging to your life and disastrous to your creativity.

Train yourself to pick up on the voice of that negative inner critic. When you hear it saying something awful like, “I can’t believe you said that! That person must think you’re a horrible” STOP and gently take the microphone from the critic, and hand it over to your inner loving parent and cheerleader.

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Oh yes—take that mic as your own best cheerleader and loving parent. Reframe the negative messages as realistic, positive messages. Think about what you’d say to your best friend, child, or young relative if they blurted out what the inner critic had said. 

There are scientific reasons to avoid negative self-talk: psychologists have proven that we all have a confirmation bias.

This means that we subconsciously look for (and find) proof for our preconceived beliefs. So if you tell yourself that you aren’t a talented artist and you’re terrible at growing your audience and connecting with buyers, you will find evidence that confirms that belief. If you are actively fighting these negative messages (c’mon, inner cheerleader!), you will actively dispute these beliefs and find opportunities.

Be sure to download the list of positive affirmations at the end of this post—these are great examples of positive self-talk!

2. Gratitude


I’ve found that my life changes in powerful ways when I take inventory of all the ways I’ve been blessed. I know yours can, too. I hope you’ll try this. A few weeks ago, I allowed myself to feel deep gratitude to my group of collectors, and then I sent them a newsletter including a message of thanks from a collector, along with a photo of a framed painting he bought. I wrote, “I’m so grateful. Thank you guys!” 
 


Coming at life from a place of gratitude completely shifts everything. Try it!

3. Morning Mindshift

If you're like me, when you wake up in the morning, is your mind flooded with your list of “to do’s. You can have some plans to take care of yourself but ONLY when you reach the end of your to-do list—only to find that there is never time for it!

It’s time for a morning mindshift.

I don’t know what your morning entails. You may rise before dawn with kids to care for or roll out of bed mid-morning after a late shift. What I do know is this:

Your day is about more than your obligations, and your worth is about more than the tasks you accomplish.

In the training below, I talk about a subtle difference I made each morning to help me ease into work more gently. It really helps!
 

4. Meditation

Do you meditate? It’s been scientifically proven that meditation increases the amount of grey matter in the brain. There are so many benefits to meditation, so I have been very interested in becoming a regular meditator. When I was in Europe in December, I had a real breakthrough—I was able to see my thoughts float by like clouds, without judging them, and the feeling was amazing. I’m hooked!

5. Nighttime Ritual

What are your last thoughts of the day? Are they about what didn’t get done? About what needs to be done tomorrow? About the calamities that might happen in the future?

I am no stranger to bedtime anxiety. Becoming more mindful helped me become aware of what was leading to this state. Finally I grabbed a pad of paper one night and did a brain dump: I wrote down all of the things that were swirling in my mind, from the trivial to the heavy-duty. It really helped!
 

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Since then, I have kept that pad next to the bed and continued this practice. It’s the most effective and healthy sleep aid I’ve ever found! The pad is also helpful for those amazing ideas I get in the middle of the night—in the morning, some of them seem hilarious or bizarre, but others are truly gems and I’m glad I captured them!

 

Optimum self-care is critical for optimum creative output. You can only neglect yourself for so long before there’s a breakdown. I hope you found some ideas here that you’ll implement into your routines and benefit from. Please share your own self-care practices in the comments!



Don’t forget to download my free positive affirmations and if you'd like more support around self-care, watch my free training!

 

 

Feeling better in 2018: RSVP for FREE live event!

Happy 2018,

 

Have you noticed the trend?


Each year on January 1, our social media feeds are filled with goals and resolutions to be better.

To live better.
To look better.
To do better.

But instead of making new resolutions for how I want to change or improve this year, I'm focusing on how I want to feel and how I can incorporate more softness, fullness, and nourishment into my daily life.

I'm not one for resolutions, but if I would choose one right now it would be to focus on daily self-care.

What is self-care?


Self-care is taking the time to identify what you need in order to be your best self and show up fully in your daily life, and then actually giving yourself those things.
You may have heard the expression "You can't pour from an empty cup".



When you're burnt out and overwhelmed, you essentially go into zombie mode. You're unable to think of creative solutions to problems that arise, or engage in activities you love because you are physically and mentally exhausted.

So this year, I'm taking steps to make sure that doesn't happen. And this Friday, I'm sharing a FREE live training on self-care practices you can steal to make 2018 your best year yet at 1:00pm EST.

If you can't make it live, don't worry! Click the link above and I'll send you the replay recording after we're done. Make sure to register now, as this totally FREE training will likely be offered as a paid product in the future!

I'll be back in your inbox tomorrow with more on creativity + self-care, specifically geared towards artists ;)

xo,
Amira

I had a Paradigm Shift About Money While Living Solo in Mexico

I had a revelation that rocked my world while doing an art residency in Mexico—and it had nothing to do with painting.

 

I was thrilled to be in Oaxaca, and I loved Mexico, but I wasn’t carefree. As an artist entrepreneur, my business cash flow ebbs and flows. I’m careful to always maintain personal savings, but it’s hard to not be anxious when my business cash flow dips too low. While in Oaxaca, it was dipping and one large reason for it was because a former collaborator owed me a large sum of money. I felt hurt and stressed about being stiffed by this person, even though I wasn’t the only victim.

The fact that I had recently gone through a big breakup also weighed me down even more. Some would say that dashing off to another country is a great escape, but I can testify that being a stranger in a foreign land where you barely speak the language and you don’t have close friends or family for support is not a magic breakup balm! It’s more like a recipe for loneliness.

My money anxiety was about to have a big relief—my licensing company was due to pay me a cushy check that would cover my business expenses for the next couple months. These infusions of security and cash flow are what artists (and all business owners) dream of!

And yet I clearly remember the day that the commission check was deposited into my bank account. I didn’t feel elated. I felt numb.

Where was the joy? Why wasn’t I reveling in feelings of security?

There I was, alone in Oaxaca and completely in love with Mexico, and so excited to keep exploring after finishing my residency in Puebla—and yet I was becoming more and more depressed.

" Cholula " 30x30" mixed media on canvas, Mexico 2017

"Cholula" 30x30" mixed media on canvas, Mexico 2017

 

Just before I left for Mexico, I watched a documentary called Minimalism on Netflix. The film states that the things that we do and the things we think we want are due to unseen fears and desires. We spend time, energy, and lots of money acquiring things to fill a void, but since we aren’t addressing the core need/fear, we remain unfulfilled. These needs can be extrinsic (external), such as wanting approval from others, or wanting to be liked. They can also be intrinsic (internal), such as fears about being alone, fears of not being special, or fears of being unworthy.

I think the intrinsic fears are the scariest to tap into.

Minimalism was a thought-provoking movie, and I think some soul-searching questions that it brought up were percolating in me while I was in Mexico. When I felt no fulfillment at the five-figure commission payment, I came face-to-face with the void in me that had been left unfulfilled: my need for family.

There’s a wonderful quote by Rumi: “What you seek is seeking you.”

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I realized that what I had been seeking all along was something that I was already blessed with—a loving and supportive family. And yet I had been living away from them for more than 10 years, between college, living in the United Arab Emirates for three years, and other travel. I suddenly knew that I needed to be near them.

Shortly after this realization, I left Mexico and returned to my hometown. I had a lot of emotions and grief to face and work through, and I needed a lot of self work (and an amazing therapist) to get through it. I am glad to be living near my family now, and I still enjoy traveling both within the United States and internationally. In fact, think I enjoy travel even more now that I have grounded myself more firmly in a home base.

We all want things in life, but when we have a glimpse of insight into the root—our deepest needs and desires—it is truly profound, and it can right our course.

I won’t say that money doesn’t matter to me; I also know it’s a cliché to say that money doesn’t buy happiness. I respect money, and it can make life more convenient. I grew up in one of the poorest cities in New Jersey, and I’m very grateful for how far I’ve come. But in Mexico I realized money could not fix how I felt. Money is powerless to cure depression; it can’t help you love yourself; and to my surprise it didn’t even make me feel more secure.

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This post is about my experience, but I hope it gives you food for thought. What are the deepest motivations that you have for what you do—for your goals—for what you buy? Do you have a void in your life? If so, are you filling it with things that don’t serve you instead of making the needed changes or doing the inner work? These are deep questions that can lead to profound insights. I wish you the best!

Amira xox

P.S. Please comment below and/or share this post if you found it beneficial. Share the wealth! <33

An Artist's Reaction to Kanye's VMA Acceptance Speech

An Artist's Reaction to Kanye's VMA Acceptance Speech

I consider music to be an influence in my work. And as someone who admittedly loves watching mindless shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians on Real Housewives (of pretty much anywhere), I will be the first to say that I'm not above watching an award show on my down time.

Last night, I caught up with the VMA's 2015 show.

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Dark and Moody: Latest Paintings

"Copacetic" 24x36" acrylic on canvas SOLD
"Copacetic" 24x36" acrylic on canvas SOLD
"We had a chemistry"  30x40" mixed media on canvas Purchase
"We had a chemistry" 30x40" mixed media on canvas Purchase

If last week was orange and juicy, this week is dark and moody. I've been in a deep blue kind of zone and I can't say it's not good here. Here are two of my latest abstract pieces. Click the photos to learn more.

Thanks and have a good week!