I am a creative soul; my creative energy will come in sporadic bursts that can last an hour, or weeks. Writing, painting, makeup etc; I will find an outlet for my creative energy. When I am creating, I feel that I am being my most complete self. If only it would last.
When the days come where I suffer from writers block, or I cannot muster the energy to create anything, I feel myself pull away. I pull away from society, from social obligations, and from my loved ones. Suddenly I don’t know how to fill my time beyond my children, and I have no desire to do anything. I have suffered from anxiety and depression for years, and I have taken active steps to take care of myself. With this in mind, I can still recognize the signs of my downward spirals. My sudden creative shut-down is my first alert. I go on immediate auto-pilot, sheltering those around me from my dark moods beginning to brew. The days become groundhogs day; a routine I can keep and manage easily with my children.
I cancel social engagements when I can, and shy away from public places. Just like with my creative bursts, my sudden listlessness can last an hour, to complete weeks. It becomes a downward spiral of ‘dark’ days, as I desperately seek something that will rouse my spirit again. My need for self care goes beyond the “self care Sunday’ articles you see. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy a bubble bath and a glass of wine. Relaxation can be key after a long stressful day, but what about the days where you feel lost? Let’s talk about self care in the broader sense:
First and foremost, this is what has to come first. If I am standing in my own way, it is often times because of the way I am verbally abusing myself in my mind. I don’t need anyone else to tell me something isn’t up to par; I’ve probably already told myself 600 times before bed. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, and I find myself trying to get out of my own way just to get anything done. (Kind of hard to accomplish anything when I’m telling myself it isn’t good enough.)
Take a personal day when you need it. When I recognize my moods shifting, I take my “personal day.” Of course, my personal day almost always includes my children, but I can still commit to the things I need. Sometimes my personal day means I need to clean the entire house because the clutter is piling up and stressing me out. Other times I do absolutely nothing, because that is exactly what I need; a day to not let the house be perfect. Either way, whatever I feel like I need, I give to myself on my personal day (within reason).
I was recently diagnosed with scoliosis (a curving of the spine); These past few weeks have been dedicated to working with a Chiropractor. I will also be seeing my regular doctor to get a referral for physical therapy, as my insurance does not cover Chiropractors. I have had back pain for years, and no doctor had ever thought to give me an X-ray; they just called it a muscle spasm and told me to take medication.
Regardless of that disregard over the years, I have been adamant about keeping my doctors appointments. I’m not so great about going to the dentist, but to each their own. I want to stay on top of my health the best I can. Annual trips to the doctors to monitor my medications, my blood work and my concerns are a must. Don’t wait to see a doctor until you find yourself standing in emergency care; go now. Stay on top of your health.
Long before I ever made the decision to go on medication for my mental health, I stayed active. Long walks, swimming, even Zumba classes. There was even a brief stint of taking pole dancing classes. I like to be active, and if it’s fun, I’ll try it at least once. Getting myself to the gym is the hardest part of exercising. I’ve started doing Yoga at my local gym, but when I find myself shying away from public places, the gym is the first place to be cut.
If you are like me and make a million excuses about why you just can’t make it to the gym tonight, then download a fitness app. I have one on my phone that has 15 minute workouts for each day (for whatever part of the body you want to work). Sometimes just forcing myself to do the at-home workout gives me enough of a boost to get out of the damn house.
This isn’t about losing weight, but if that is what you are trying to do, then pay attention. What you are putting in your body is going to do more good for you than 100 squats at the gym. I don’t drink soda, I eat a lot of fish, and since I really don’t like fruit, I make up for it in vegetables. (I also really love tomatoes, and those are technically a fruit right?)
As a Makeup Artist, when clients ask about what they can do for their skin, my first answer is going to be water. Your skin is an organ; Take care of your insides, and it will show on the outside. I drink alcohol a lot more when I’m out being social than when I’m just home with my family, and I can easily see the difference in my skin.
Things have a way of coming full circle. Maybe you claim to not have a creative bone in your body, but there are so many ways to be artistic. Those “adult” coloring books weren’t created just for adults to re-live their past times of coloring as a child. (Seriously, I have kids, and I’m pretty sure I color more now than I ever did then). Those coloring books can be used as a form of meditation. Lose yourself for a few moments in the task at hand; it can do wonders to your stress level. Start a journal, paint a picture, or try a DIY Pinterest project.
I love to create something from nothing. I will go to war with myself just to fight my way back to my art. The perfectionist in me will hate everything I create, but the artist in me will love the rawness of it.
We live in a fast moving world; You either keep up or get left behind. It can be over-whelming for even the best of us, so I’m here to remind you to take a moment for yourself. Be honest with yourself about what you truly need, and don’t be afraid to let yourself have it. I am not a doctor, or even an expert in self-care; All I am is experienced. All I can say is “I have been there” and I will spiral there again; but I’m always going to be willing to do what is best for my health and to get myself back to my most complete self.