The Art of Self Care: 11 Ways to Practice Self Care

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art of self care

When it comes to feeding your creativity, the art of learning how to practice self care can go a long way!

It’s all too easy for us to neglect taking some much-needed time out to take care of ourselves and our inner artist. Practicing self-care is a very essential habit for creativity that many of us often overlook.

Why is Self Care So Important?

Every single day we experience all sorts of thoughts, feelings, and encounters with others that can sometimes leave us feeling a bit drained of our energy.

If you ignore the call of taking care of your own needs, it can lead to a lot of problems. You might start feeling drained, sick, and feeling the not-so-good vibes of negative emotions and feelings. Sometimes that spirals into other problems – kind of like a domino effect.


This is one of my favorite self-care quotes: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.” – Audre Lorde

"Caring for Myself is an act of survival" - self care quote

Before we are able to care for anyone or anything else, we have to make sure we are being cared for!

Since we rarely know what each day may hold for us in advance, it’s a good idea to make your own self care checklist and keep it within sight or reach any time you may need it!

Anytime you feel overwhelmed or unwell or frustrated – remember what little things you can do that will help you feel better. It doesn’t have to be anything extreme – sometimes the smallest little things help us feel better!

This can be done by keeping a list on your phone, a note in your purse, or putting a sign up on the wall of your house. You can use this list as a reference anytime you need a little bit of a boost.

You can even make some art in your journals to remind you of things that are important to do each day.

self care art journal page
Getting Dressed Every Morning Art Journal Page

Here are some ideas for ways to practice self care:

#1: Eat healthy, delicious foods you enjoy.

retro kitchen
Retro Kitchen Image via ArtsyBee/Pixabay

Food is probably one of the most overlooked ways to nurture and care for yourself – and yet it’s one of our most basic needs.

Sometimes I get so caught up in different things that I will forget to eat completely. There have been those times when the mere thought of microwaving a potato seemed like an impossible task.

On days I eat right, I can definitely feel it: I’m in a happier mood, I have enough energy to make it through the day. On days I don’t, I also feel it: tired, sluggish and cranky!

“Healthy Foods” doesn’t necessarily mean eating only celery and carrots. Sometimes a little bit of dark chocolate is just what you might need too. A small piece of chocolate is a good asset to have in your self-care survival toolbox!

Eating healthy for self care is not about depriving yourself or feeling guilty. It’s about making sure you cover the basics of getting the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Sometimes it’s all too easy to neglect our own nutritional needs, which leads us to not feeling our best.

#2: Take a walk while practicing mindfulness

"All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking." -Friedrich Nietzsche

I love taking walks – even when the weather is dreary or cold – I just need to wear about 20 extra layers of clothes those winter days!

We don’t live in a place where you can walk easily – no sidewalk here – but I still make it a point to get outside for some daylight and just walk around our yard or head to the trails at a nearby park.

While I’m walking, I like to just center all of my attention to the experience of taking the walk. I take in what I see and feel around me: What do I hear? What do I smell? What do I see?

It’s not so much what I think about – it’s what I don’t think about during these walks.

I don’t think about errands I need to run, or things I need to do, or what someone else might need later. If those thoughts should come to mind, I just instead focus back to what is around me.

Being mindful is not so much about what you think about, it’s more about what you don’t think about.

You don’t have to go for a long walk or run miles to enjoy this act of self care. If getting outside is difficult, you can always practice mindfulness just by spending a few moments looking out the window and taking in all the sights and sounds outside in the present moment.

#3: Spend time with positive people who bring out the best in you and you enjoy being with.

Spend time with people who accept you as you are
Good friends will always understand if you show up wearing a pink tutu even if you are supposed to be a boring old “grown-up”.

As a creative person, I’ve learned it is so important to spend time with people who “get it”. It can be very draining energetically and emotionally when you are constantly surrounded by people who criticize you or try to drag you down into their problems.

While I’m all for being a supportive friend, sometimes you have to get to that level of acceptance that there are people you encounter in life that are only going to keep you knocked down. Setting healthy boundaries is one way to maintain some peace in these types of situations.

It’s also great to connect with new people who enjoy similar activities and interests as you do. I’ve met some wonderful people through sites like Meetup.com, as well as just going to classes offered at the local libraries!

#4: Relax with a warm cup of tea

cup of tea while art journaling

While I love coffee, tea for me is very soothing and a special treat right before bed.  Taking the time to brew a special cup of tea for relaxation is a great way to practice self care.

Using a special blend of loose tea with a tea infuser makes the habit of a cup of tea all the more creative and special!

#5: Art Journaling is an Act of Self Care!

playing with color

Self care is one of the biggest reasons I art journal! For me it is a great way to journal out those thoughts and express my feelings that might not even have words through colors, textures, and visual imagery.

Art journaling for me is a daily habit – whether I work on small sections of a larger page like I do in my block by block technique, or whether I just write it all down in a notebook to use as collage fodder later on – it’s an essential part of me caring for myself!

I’m also a big believer that you *don’t* have to be a fine artist to benefit from art journaling. As an act of self care, you can doodle, draw, paint – even just create stick figures and random patterns!

All of this can help you relax and express any thoughts and feelings you might need to process and release.

Some days you might not be in the mood to art journal – and that’s okay. You can always just write things down to get it all out and then use that paper to cut up or gesso over later. For me, once something is on paper, it’s released and I feel a lot better moving forward.

Not sure what to make? Get started with an art journal prompt – there are all sorts of ideas on our site to inspire you!

#6: Go on An Adventure

sail boats journal entry

I find that whenever I am in a creative rut, or I’m feeling drained from the everyday chaos, sometimes taking a break for a day or even a weekend can give me the refreshing boost I need. This can be as simple as a day trip to a nearby city’s attractions, or even taking a quick weekend trip to somewhere different.

A few examples of adventures I’ve taken: camping for the weekend, riding a megabus to visit my brother in NYC, getting lost at a different library for the afternoon, and going thrift store shopping.

There’s really no limits on what you can do or where you can go – they key is to do something different and something you really enjoy!

#7: Listen to your favorite music.

art journal page ideas
A page inspired by the Song “Slow Down” by the Autumn Film

Something about music can instantly calm me down and make me remember what matters. I love listening to my favorite playlists on 8tracks.com and sometimes just listening to the radio.

You can also sing, play an instrument, etc. Don’t worry about whether or not you are a rock star that has perfect pitch/skill – music helps you express stress, feelings, thoughts and is an instant mood booster for many people!

#8: Take a Break When You Need One

Often times when we are busy or overwhelmed with work, sometimes a quick 5 minute break can make all the difference. That little break can help you remember everything does not need to be done at once!

Whenever I feel like I’m dragging while I work, I stand up, walk about, and find something else to do for about 5-10 minutes. This almost always helps me come back feeling recharged and ready to go!

Sometimes a break needs to be longer than 5 minutes. It’s okay if you need to take some time away from certain things that leave you feeling drained or worn out. Give yourself permission to take some much needed time to rest and recharge. This is especially true if you’re experiencing the ups and downs of being an artist.

#9: Use Aromatherapy

It’s incredible how different scents and smells can completely change your mood. Whether you use essential oils or scented candles, there are so many things to love about aromatherapy.

I love putting in my favorite essential oil blends into my diffuser and letting the relaxing scents fill the room. I’ve even found a lot of different essential oils perfectly compliment my creative practice.

Another fun way to use aromatherapy is by using your favorite bath & beauty goodies. I LOVE a good quality handmade lavender soap! It is so refreshing to use the aromatherapy to uplift your mood, help you feel calm, and feel refreshed while you go about your daily routine.

Somedays it might only be five minutes in the shower, but that little bar of soap can go a very long way. You don’t necessarily need that big soaker tub with candlelight. {And if I’m being honest, candles + bath tub sounds like a combination for disaster for clumsy me!}

#10: Read a good “just for fun” book

I’ve always loved to read, and when I was younger I could easily get lost for days in a world of young adult fiction novels. Sadly, as I grew up, reading fiction slipped out of my busy schedule with work and school.

After awhile though I realized sometimes your brain just needs an escape from reality, and a book was still a great way to do that. Sometimes an adventure to a different time period or different place through a book is just what a person needs to come back to reality with a fresh perspective.

Don’t have time to sit down and read? Listening to audio books while you paint or clean or drive somewhere is a great way to catch up on all those books.

#11: Clean Your House/Room/Yard/Craft Supplies

If I’m being completely honest, I hate cleaning. There are so many things I would rather do than clean! So why would I suggest something that not many people love to do as an act of self care?

Well, for starters, there are a lot of advantages to a clean house – you’ll feel calmer, more organized, and peaceful when you are in a neat and tidy environment instead of a completely disorganized one.

Caring for the places where we spend much of our time in many ways is a way to care for ourselves – to reinforce we deserve a space that is beautiful and makes us feel good when we are there.

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when there is a sink full of dishes or a mountain of laundry. It might not be glamorous, but keeping a household planner is a great way to organize these sort of tasks and make it a little more fun.

Please note, I’m also VERY far from perfect on this. With three kids and several furry family members it’s safe to say my house can quickly look like a tornado went through. Even still, I have found many times while I hate the idea of cleaning, I always feel better whenever I do it.

There’s a very fulfilling sense of accomplishment when it’s done and you can relax without the chores looming overhead.

Sometimes I’ve found that organizing my art supplies can also give me a much needed boost in the creative department. You can see how I organize my art journaling supplies here.


If Things Ever Get Overwhelming, Remember Help is Out There

Another important thing to remember? You don’t have to do life all alone.

There are so many great resources available out there for any time you feel overwhelmed. Whether it’s a peer support/mentorship group or you reach out to your local area’s resources for health and wellness – there is ALWAYS something out there that is able to help you if life gets overwhelming.

Self care means asking for help when you might need it. Asking for help is probably the #1 scariest and hardest thing to do – but it can make a huge difference, especially if you feel like life is getting harder and harder.


The Art of Self Care is Important – Make Time for It!

There are many things you can do that help you practice self care. Making time to take care of yourself gives you the ability to take care of the other things that can happen in life and our day-to-day activities.

Even if you read through this list and think, “I can’t do any of these things” or even “I don’t enjoy that at all” – there are still opportunities to find little things you can do every day that make you feel happy, even if just for a brief fleeting moment.

Do you have any other ideas for self care? I’d love to hear how you practice the art of self care in the comments below! And don’t worry, there are no wrong answers – it’s about finding things that help you feel better, recharge your creative spirit, and enjoy the little moments in life. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “The Art of Self Care: 11 Ways to Practice Self Care”

  1. Thanks for this. Even though you posted it last year, it’s especially timely right now. I’ve been creating my way through the pandemic, but I’ve also been experiencing more frequent “funks” than usual. I appreciated being reminded about self care.

    I hope you are well and safe.

    Reply

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