As a creative writer or content creator, your job is to build experiences out of thin air. There’s nothing like the rush of ideas flowing through your mind and onto the page, and receiving feedback from readers who relate to your words.
As a creative professional myself, this is why I do what I do. But we’ve all experienced the sudden shift in our creative power when our inner bully starts pushing us around. You may have churned out work yesterday that moved mountains, but today you can’t even move your fingers on the keyboard. I can speak honestly saying this happens to me more and more with the global trauma we’re all experiencing during the pandemic.
This past year has been painful for us all. We’ve been forced into isolation, separated from our loved ones, and locked away day after day. We fear human contact, which is a powerful stress reliever. Any comfort we got from routine has been pulled out from under us, including our self care routines.
One positive aspect of the pandemic, though, is the open discussion on the importance of mental health resources. Pandemic or not, if you battle with depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, life is an uphill journey. About 1 in 5 Americans suffer from some form of mental illness. More of us are pushing through hurt than we realize, but we still have to show up every day. Read on for a few self care ideas that can help your creative flow.
1. Prioritize your own Self Care
There’s no better feeling than getting the creative bug and letting ideas rush out of you onto the page. As a creative, it’s a biological call to give something to the world. But nothing in the universe, not even creativity, comes in unlimited supply.
No matter how much you love what you do, if your cup is empty, you won’t have anything to pour. Accept that you can’t show up as your best self 100 percent of the time, and have an emergency self care plan in place to regenerate that energy that allows you to share your gifts with the world.
2. Move your Body, Move your Mind
Our body and mind are more connected than we realize. Studies often link a minimum of 120 minutes a week of physical exercise to increased energy and overall lower levels of depression and anxiety. If you feel stuck, give your body some love and get yourself moving.
3. Make Friends with your Writers Block
We all dread the weight of writer’s block. And we’re constantly searching for ways to relieve ourselves from it. But what if we recognized that our mental obstacles serve a purpose? Are there messages about ourselves that we can learn when we personify this sensation and ask it questions out loud?
Imagine yourself sitting across the table from your writer’s block. You can imagine it as a helpful friend, that maybe notices that you are overscheduled, being too hard on yourself, or need to make some changes in your personal relationships that help you see more clearly. Bonus points if you write down the dialogue as you go.
4. Get Outside | Go Within
From opportunities to move, to better breathing, to a quiet place to think, the great outdoors is always taking care of us. If you feel lost, take time to explore a nearby trail and take deep breaths of fresh air.
5. To-do Lists, Gratitude Lists, and More Lists
When you can’t see with your mind’s eye, your physical eyes can help. Taking a few minutes to sort through your thoughts with a list can provide you with real clarity, and makes your to-do list much less intimidating.
If you’re more old-fashioned, treat yourself to a moleskin notebook, or you can find great notepad apps like Evernote to organize your thoughts and put them in writing no matter where you are.
6. Start a Meditation Practice For Self Care
The research confirms over and over again that 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening of some form of mindfulness practice helps with stress, depression, and focus. But it’s easy to distrust a practice that’s associated with strange chanting and other rituals.
Meditation can be whatever you need it to be, whether you prefer guided breathing like the Whim Hoff Method or you find your center working with your hands. Practice self care with your own brand of meditation.
7. Don’t Go it Alone, There’s Help Available
Not everyone shows it the same way, but we all struggle to keep going at some point. Many of us suffer silently from some form of mental illness, but the stigma around this topic makes it feel like you’ll be judged unfairly and stripped of opportunities if you openly talk about it.
Getting the self care resources that help you create is your right. Be brave enough to get help from a licensed professional that can help you manage your symptoms and keep creating. If you have trouble finding a therapist near you, online counseling has greatly improved over the years and is surprisingly affordable.
Seeking Self Care and Creative Inspiration?
Even if your suffering stands in the way of doing great work, you don’t have to let it stop you from being a powerful creative writer. Implementing a self care plan can be an extra line of defense in your battle with mental illness and writer’s block.
For creative writing resources to keep yourself motivated and successful, subscribe to our mailing list and become an unstoppable creative force. The Calepin Writers Workshop Centre is a safe space for writers and aspiring writers to learn, create and find opportunities.
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