How Do You Take Care of Yourself? (Curious Monday)

We’re busy.

Busy in the studio, busy at home, and busy in the office. Everyone is so busy that it’s a boring topic. I’ve even made it an important goal to never utter the words I’m so busy.

But lots of the busy-ness involves sitting on our butts. And when we’re not doing that, we might just be so involved in deadlines and commitments that we forget to eat.

Blue painting of birds by Bill Jacka

©Bill Jacka, Gila Azul. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches. Used with permission.

None of this is good.

Today’s question originated from one of my Inner Circle members: How do you take care of yourself?

I’m interested in hearing about your nutrition, exercise, healthcare, pampering, boundaries, etc.

Let ’em all spill out in a comment below.

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87 comments to How Do You Take Care of Yourself? (Curious Monday)

  • Great neighbors to go with for a morning kayak to catch up on the news and enjoy the water and wildlife. Some times go for lovely hikes and take pictures to get inspired by. Each evening I sit in my hot tub and just relax.

  • Linda

    Every weekend I regularly have two all-day outdoor art shows, one at the beach with a small art group and the other at a winery/vineyard. As well as being out in the fresh air, I get exercise loading and unloading my car with everything I use in my setups. I can’t imagine a healthier work environment. I’ve always eaten mostly healthy and continue to do so, during the week I have ballet class and need to follow a dancers diet. I have art groups, meetings, etc. two days a week and do my computer and inventory work on Mondays. Since I’ve gotten more organized, I have Wednesday and Thursday free as my “weekend”. To balance out the rest of the week and to get my brain out of “work mode”, I go to the beach & walk on the pier (I’m 10 min. from the ocean in California), go to the botanical garden nearby, read for enjoyment. My husband and I try to go out to dinner & watch a DVD or BlueRay movie once every other week. Something I haven’t seen mentioned in comments, and have to work on myself, is that while we’re doing healthy things, we need to enjoy the moment rather than just do things & think about work, etc. This is psychologically taking care of ourselves and is extremely important!

  • Lynne Reichhart

    One thing I will never do is forget to eat! I love food and am trying to eat healthier. I also exercise nearly every day before lunch. My painting time is typically from 9 until workout time. I also have a fitness band to remind me to MOVE!

  • I make sure that I do my morning run or walk in the foothills every morning. It’s the first thing I do after I get out of bed. It gives me time to just be in nature, take in the beautiful view…and move. After that I can tackle almost anything…almost.

  • I start my day off with prayer & meditation, have a balanced breakfast & then a short walk. Then I’m ready to go.

  • I started making smoothies at least every other day to get my fruits & veggies easier! Thank you “Ninja”. Exercise is volleyball once a week, pushing a 60 lb stroller on 2 mile walks about twice a week & chasing my kids and stretching most days. My studio time is nights & weekends. I try to work on Marketing a few times a week but wish I did more! Taking care of my mental health has become more important every year. I journal, read about others’ stories and try to stay connected to my sisters & dad now that my mom recently passed.

  • Daily water fitness and a daily nap or meditation. I try to take weekends off (not easy with so many events!) or a mid-week day at home. I watch my weight, and allow for volunteering and family time, too. I am obsessive about getting 8 hours sleep. The short version: I pace myself, live in the moment, and strive for balance…medical appointments are regularly scheduled, too. I don’t FEEL as busy as this makes me seem…

  • My nutrition is very good but I admit it was better in San Diego where I lived for 30 years. And my exercise was better too. I not only worked out at the gym 4 days a week but I also walked along Mission Bay and the LaJolla cove. That was fun! Now I work out 2 days a week for 1 1/2 hr. And I stretch at home for an hour 3 days a week. We have plenty of stairs-some going up to the loft and others going down to my studio. I think I get enough exercise. It’s been too hot to walk (90 degrees). Definitely not San Diego weather. I live 30 miles from Chicago. I see my doctors regularly especially the dermatologist who has found one skin cancer and some pre- cancerous lesions. Must be all that outdoors walking in San Diego? Also I did a lot of landscape painting outdoors. Like Cindy, I usually maintain a positive attitude.

  • Riding my bike and generally being in constant motion while in the studio provide some exercise, but it’s not enough.
    I often am not great in terms of preparing lunches to take to the studio.
    For mental health, I sit in circle with a women’s group once a week and have a strong spiritual life.
    Currently, I’m struggling with boundaries at the studio. My new studio is in a great neighbourhood, and lots of artists, clients and others want to ‘drop by’ which breaks up my momentum.

  • Self care and me time are a must for me for now. In past years actual exercise, walks or swimming weren’t part of my routine yet working hard was my main source of movement. I painted, stretched canvases, moved big logs around to sculpt on and knew that wasn’t enough for myself. I was doing all this amongst huge upheavals in my life that included huge amounts of stress with no self care.
    Starting last fall I hired a trainer/nutritionist all in one person who I adore and love. I exercise with her once to twice a week plus we meet about nutrition. For breakfast I have a kale, tri-berry and avocado smoothie. I’ll have a snack sometimes in between meals with hummus/vegies and eat lots of salads, fish, turkey. I swim at least once if not twice a week plus ride a stationary bike. Eating healthy and taking time for self is so important in the early morning to read, prayer or meditate. It’s a lifestyle now for me!

  • Own my thoughts and feelings
    Eat local
    Walk a lot

  • Yowza! I feel healthier and happier just reading everyone’s self-care practices! This was a brilliant topic to introduce.

    The most significant of my self-care is internal (mind/heart/spirit), which makes for great relationships, which is a huge factor in a super-happy life. Physically, I’m very active (mostly cycling & hiking in this season). I have a regular tai chi practice. Once in awhile I do something rare & special for myself, ex., soak in a bath.

  • Carolyn

    Yoga, smoothies, long walks, I don’t set a wake up alarm on the weekends, hot baths and a monthly massage. I can’t fit all of these in everyday but I follow my feelings and do what I feel would be most nourishing in the moment. And most importantly I try to create some alone time so that I can be with my thoughts.

  • It varies but I work on some kind of self-care practice daily. I meditate, I exercise, I drink lots of water, I get out and meet people, I get in my studio, I ask questions, I engage in my communities, I call my friends, I make progress on my goals, I let things go, I work hard, I take naps, I see other artists shows, I cook my family healthy meals, I integrate my life and my work so it feels aligned with my values, I call my mother, I help my siblings , I stay in the present, I keep the ego in check, spend a few hours in the garden, listen to my body, stretch, or take a yoga class.

  • Deb Wicks

    It took a “your numbers aren’t directionally correct” from my doctors to give me the realization that health must come first. So, last year, I enrolled in the YMCA’s “Take Control” weight loss program, and this year partnered with a trainer – nutrition and fitness now come first, before my art! The health results, as well as improved energy and self-esteem, have positively transcended into my art world and success. If you take care of yourself first – family and art will surely benefit!

  • I have been so lousy at self care in the past (and endured the resulting health gremlins that result!) that I wrote myself a book about it!

    For me, meditation and yoga are at the top of the list. Journal keeping, connecting with family and friends, creating stuff just for me (especially important as creatives, is to be creative for our own delight!) practicing gratitude, planning my days, setting boundaries, choosing my attitude and letting go of perfectionism are all part of my self care toolkit.

    This is a great question, and a real issue for everyone – not just artists. I’ve been surprised at the “Me too!” response from people who have read my book. From all walks of life, men and women, all ages, all kinds of professions… seems all human beings on planet Earth right now are struggling with this!

  • I do a pretty decent job taking care of my physical health by eating a healthy diet that closely follows the Paleo diet, and exercising most days over an hour total, including a 30 minute walk, plus several shorter walks and bike rides during the day. I do need to better address my stress level, and look forward to getting a massage very soon!

  • Barbara Muir

    The word sacrosanct popped into my head one morning not long ago just as I
    was getting up. And I realized that one thing I do to take care of myself
    is to hold onto a morning routine even with a fluctuating schedule, and
    different wake up times. I meditate in the morning, preferably for 20
    minutes, then make a coffee, and read for half an hour if possible. I always
    have a book on the go, and that is my treat. Plus if at all possible I don’t let
    anything interfere with my weekend time with my husband. We go to
    the market, maybe see friends, sometimes take in a major art show, or a movie,
    and most of all spend time together, even if it’s just to talk to the cats and
    the dog while we eat lunch. On art show weekends, life gets a bit rushed, but
    we still try and stick to some of our favorite routines, like buying roses at
    our favorite flower shop.

  • I used to love to run, but don’t anymore so I had to find an alternative. I started Yoga and exercises at the gym 3 times a week. Play with my puppy and Roux the cat. Studio time is during the day until 6:30pm. Since my studio is home; I take nap when I feel like it. I spent time in my yard, I love spicy food so I grow my own peppers. I grow up on organic food and natural remedies. If I have to go to the doctor it is because natural remedies cannot do anything. I am a believer in herbal remedies, essential oils. My alone time is spent reading.

  • At the moment I’m in charge of my parents care as well as everything else so I have had to get serious on this topic. Yoga, gardening, daily journal writing and meditation. I can’t say I’m perfect with all of these regularly, but keeping them in mind each day makes it easier as well as not beating myself up for not being perfect.

    • Hang in there Alys! I’m there too and one thing I found out is you can only do as well as you can do. It doesn’t serve you to beat yourself up for not being superwoman.

    • Evonne

      That is a tough position, but sounds like you are doing well. Yes, there is no perfection in care giving. I would add to be extra gentle with yourself during this time.

  • Gosh! Reading these posts makes me think that someone should do a study on the healthy practices of artists! They sure fly in the face of that outmoded stereotype of the hard living, self-destructive, loner artist!

    Decades of experimentation (with lots of redirection..that is, failures) and certification as a holistic nurse have resulted in the following strategies…

    Massage every 2 weeks- lots of evidenced-based health benefits…been doing this for …yikes…30years!
    Indoor cycling at the “Y” – self- competitive, safe, fun with the right teacher and peers
    Indoor cycling at home while watching movies and football with my husband- go Team!
    Yoga stretch routine in the morning…although not as consistent as I used to be
    Simple, organic, whole, in-season, local food most if the time
    Living in a place that feeds my heart and soul
    And probably most important….meaningful relationships and purposeful work that I love.

  • Bill

    Sunscreen, and a lot of it. Plein air painting wouldn’t be the same without it.

  • Andrew

    Another good question.

    My list of what I do for me is simple.
    1) Leave work on time / Minimize overtime
    2) Walk and play with my dog
    3) Putz in my garden
    4) Weekly date night with my wife
    5) Occasionally sit back and enjoy a good beer, glass of wine, or a fine single malt.
    6) Have someone to talk to, in order to vent of frustration, keep problems in perspective, and to offer up insight and suggestions.

    Eating right in our house is a normal, and I use my sketchcrawls and plein air trips to get additional exercise, and when the weather is good, I ride my bicycle to work.

  • Oh wow, I need this reminder. We have just returned from a trip that ended with my husband’s medical emergency. (8 days in Croatian hospital a whole other story).
    Meditation, a twenty minute session am and pm. It keeps me center and avoid spinning out of control, and helps me retain focus.
    if I’m truly overwhelmed I use the 25 minute approach. Do something for 25 mins.

  • it is so good to read all the comments am recently evolved as an artist and i have almost forgot to eat drink and sleep or even go out … i thought i was good to do improve work quality if i continue doing that but now, am gonna relax a little bit!! 🙂

  • I admire all these artists who exercise. The main thing that I do to take care of myself is to make sure I rest. Well I have post-polio syndrome and repetitive strain injury, and the combination means that I have to be very careful not to get tired.
    I read that it is very common for artists to get RSI.
    I ought to be more careful about eating healthily, but too often my hand can barely cut bread and cheese after a couple of hours painting and drawing. So I have started growing salad vegetables in pots on my studio windowsill. It is nice to pull fresh leaves off to nibble on whenever I want. They have to be in the studio as it is the only cat free room. One of my cats likes to nibble leaves and the plants don’t recover.
    I stay cheerful because of my Buddhist chanting, and if I need a complete break I escape into an entertaining book for a day or two.

  • I go through seasons. Some I take care of myself and others I don’t. I recently woke up to the NOT of taking care of myself. STopped and looked at life. I realized I had to cut some top priorities from my life. My plan was to start taking care of myself in teh fall, but I realized that I can’t wait. SOOOOO, NEW SEASONS!

    • Evonne

      Congratulations on your new season!!! I go through them as well. Decided today to relax and enjoy summer!! The work will probably be higher quality as a result. Breathe….balance… that all is well.

  • Meditate every morning and do my back exercises everyday. I go to a Yoga class twice a week. Eat really well. Write studio on my calendar each day I have to spend it there so I don’t make other apts. Have an artists group that meets every other month. Have several artist friends I contact regularly and both give and receive input from. Take time out each day with my feet up to read and maybe nap for 1/2 hr.-1 hr. depending on what else I have going. Belong to two book clubs.

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