As any artist knows, it is sometimes hard to balance the life, work, art, and the regular ins and outs of the every day. As artists we have the ability to put a great deal of pressure on ourselves to juggle everything life has to throw at us. Family, career, kids, spouses, home life, the list goes on. While also trying to produce is some kick ass creative work that takes a whole bunch of energy as well.....PHEW....is anyone else tired by reading that???
For the last seven months I have been the proud owner of a repetitive motion injury that is effecting my shoulder. This injury started as something very small, and now has turned into something that is effecting my every day. As a music teacher, musician, and spiritual facilitator I am constantly relying on my body to hold itself in all sorts of contorted positions. Leaning over to help a student reach a note on the guitar....sitting for long periods of time with a guitar in my lap and my arms in unnatural positions....singing for hours on end.....So lately I have figured out that I am in a constant state of holding tension in my body. I also realized that my body is essential to my job......If I am not at 100% it can effect the people around me and the quality of work I put out.....It is obvious when my body is asking for a little extra attention...
Not only are we dealing with the tension our bodies hold as we work and live, we are creating and expending energy........ This can be draining mentally, emotionally and energetically. Learning to listen to when our bodies need some extra attention is the first step. Learning to follow through with the idea that we are worthy of receiving some extra attention is the second step. Giving ourselves permission without feeling guilty is the third!!!!
So here are a few things that I have learned over the last two years that has helped me to become a better creator of music, art, and energy work and to become a better facilitator for those around me! I know most of these are common knowledge.... but it is nice to remind ourselves that we are important parts of the cog that help the world become a better place.
1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!!!
Even if it is just a little pinch or a sore muscle here or there. This could be the beginning of something bigger that will take months to heal, (for example, my shoulder). Taking care of yourself is paramount in creating, so remember to rev up the heating pad, take a bath, or take a nap. Even better talk to your friendly neighborhood massage therapist, chiropractor, energetic facilitator or physiotherapist and go for a visit or two. It can be a little costly, however at the end of the day your body is your job..... so invest in it!!!! Regular maintenance is important to feel good and keep those creative muscles flexing! Note to self!!! Also, really pay attention to what your body is saying to you. Save some time in your day and check in with yourself. Ask yourself some questions. (Thank You Alison for this reminder)
- how am I feeling in this moment?
- when is the last time I took a full breath?
- am I feeling any tension or stiffness?
- can I sense why I am getting tense?
- when is the last time I had a glass of water?
- when is the last time I ate something healthy?
- when is the last time I spent some time stretching or moving my body?
2. REST IF YOU NEED IT
This is a very hard one to accomplish for some.....those who have children and a hectic family life. But if your body is calling out for it, listen to your body! Ask a friend or family member to take the kids for the afternoon and use that time to truly rest! I MEAN, FOR REAL REST!!....not finish the dishes, do the laundry and finish writing that song. Send the children off to a friends house shut the lights off, turn off the phone(s), crawl into bed, and get a beautiful 2 hours of un interrupted sleep!!! Gorgeous!!! With or without children a majority of us are sleep deprived!! It's common sense....Sleep More!! Sometimes you just need to take the day off to recoup some much needed energy. Don't feel bad about needing a day to your self every once in a while.....we need these to function....so take a day off to lie in bed...catch up on sleep....daydream....breathe.....meditate.....WHATEVER!!! If you don't do it for yourself, nobody else will do it for you!
3. TAKE SOME @#$%^&&@# VITAMINS....
Yes!! Take some vitamins, they will do your body good.....if you a re not eating a proper diet.....take them in pill form........or at the very least if you live in the northern part of the hemisphere, up those vitamin D levels!! This is important as our food sources often times come from out of country (especially during the winter months) so by the time they get to us they are depleted in those essential nutrients that help us function. Take them regularly or at least try! It will do your body good!
4. TAKE SOME ALONE TIME
If you can on occasion, try to schedule some alone time!! As a creator we face a lot of challenges as we are out putting so much energy making our art.....whatever that may be.....Also working with many different people on a daily basis can create a depletion in energy storage......
Sometimes being alone is just what we need to be able to integrate all of the knowledge and energy that is flowing on a regular basis. There are times when we just need a day off.... gosh darn it! So take it if you feel that your energetic well is running dry. You will thank yourself and the people around you will benefit as well.
I recently started to exercise on a regular basis and I have found it to be amazingly grounding and beneficial on so many levels. It is my time to plug in the tunes, and tune out the ol monkey brain. I remember to breathe and to listen to my heart and my body. Get the blood and endorphins rushing to all of my important parts, ..... SWEAT!!!! SWEATING IS GOOOD!!!
Remember to change it up and keep it interesting! You will be more motivated to do something you love as opposed to dragging your butt to the gym every day to do the same old routine! In the winter moths I head to the gym, and in the summer moths I head outside to dig in the garden or take a run. Cleaning the house can be counted as exercise too!! Do what fits your needs for that particular day.
The hardest part is taking the first step to create a routine that fits into your lifestyle. Even if it is just a short jaunt around the block to get the fresh air pumping through your lungs....do it.....eventually if you keep it up it will become part of your regular day. It will give you the space to create some extra room in your brain so that you can fill it up with that new project, painting, or song.
6. DRINK SOME EXTRA WATER!!!
Note to self....again.....going to get some right now....
I am still learning how to be more mindful with my body and mind as I navigate through this life. Do I have all of the answers???...NOPE....however it is a nice reminder to myself and to all of you other creators out there to check in and remember that we are all worth a little bit of extra attention from time to time. Also I am pretty sure I am justifying the reason why everyone needs a mental health day!! Remember to take care of yourself and each other!!