The process of creating something new, valuable, mind-blowing, or turning the intangible into tangible could be tough. Most of the time, this means that we have to consistently create quality, work a lot, push ourselves out of our comfort zones every single day – as such stopping to take a minute for yourself is probably at the end of your to-do list. This pretty much sums up what it means to be creative, yes! Creatives come in different shapes and sizes.
We need to ensure we are not exhausting ourselves, consciously putting into consideration our mental and physical health, really grasping how important prioritizing self-care is, to reach our goal. Even the most successful people – leaders, authors, and even our favourite stars — all take time to practice self-care, and they shared their thoughts on just how important it is to work on yourself.

Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give, and nobody will care for you
– Karl Lagerfeld

Let’s take Joann for an instant, a photographer and writer who had ignored her health for so long and even abused things. She ate very little, drank a lot of caffeine, and hardly ever exercised. She was stressed from making ends meet and taking care of family, exhausted because she had a passion she was bent on seeing through and always on edge from trying to do everything all at once. She was worried about everything, what exactly she wanted from life, if the part she had taken was leading her to those big dreams, why her friends were doing better and she wasn’t, what she needed to do right, there were so many whys, this led her to develop very disturbing habits.
Eventually, she became sick and depressed from the unhealthy lifestyle and had to seek help. She earned an extra two years in therapy and trying to get better, her ignoring her health only led to pausing dreams she was so bent on achieving. Now that’s an example of lack of self-care and what it could lead to, what strategies can be implemented to NOT be like Joan

1. Be intentional about body care; what you eat and how you sleep: Give yourself the best chance of creative success by building a healthy foundation. Good nutrition, proper sleep – many studies have confirmed that sleep and creativity are deeply intertwined, and is a key way to take care of yourself. When we sleep, our brains seek and solidify connections between ideas or problems we encountered the day before, positive mental hygiene, regular exercise – schedule specific days to exercise every week. It doesn’t matter what kind of workouts you choose to do, just make sure that you do them.
Set daily working hours and take breaks throughout your day to move and stretch, be conscious about making time to eat healthily and drink water. All of these habits will help you lead a healthier life to fuel your creativity.

2. Take a break; rest, breath: Have you spent hours just staring at your system with no inspiration, something like a writer’s block or times when you feel emotionally drained? One of the best things you can do in such situations is to step away and do something unrelated to your craft. Switch things up – see a movie, do some gardening, or take a walk.
Some types of work can take more out of you than others taking breaks is super important. The point is that you need to give yourself a break and create just for the fun of it. Everything doesn’t need to be so damn serious all the time.

3. Build social connections; make time to connect with real humans: Many of us find it easy to lose half the day on a brand-new idea without realizing it. No matter how introverted we may be, we need some degree of connection with others to feel happy and fulfilled. Treasure the relationships you have with those amazing people in your life. People still need people. If you’re a parent of young children, then you need to connect with other adults too.
Do what you can to check in with a real person every day. Try to build a few solid relationships as you build your creative career. Remember that the best idea comes when you are living.

4. Celebrate your little wins: Rome was not built in a day, everything good takes time and requires a lot of hard work, it won’t happen all at once. That’s why it is important to exercise self-care by celebrating all those small wins along the way whether it’s uploading your latest work to your online portfolio or spending a day working with a potential client that proved impossible, pause and feels grateful remind yourself that you’ve done a good job. Be patient with yourself, and remember big things are achieved not all at once, but one day at a time.

Finally, make sure you are doing what makes you happy and brings you peace.
In case you are wondering what happened with Joann? With therapy, she realized that she had neglected herself for too long and that what mattered most is doing what she can to continue moving forward every single day; appreciating the little successes and working on becoming a better version of herself.
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