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.
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!
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!
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!
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!