Whatever it is that you use to do your craft, you take care of it, right? You keep your sewing machine shiny and clean. You make sure to wash the bristles of your paint brushes carefully, so they don’t break and fall out. You keep the caps firmly on your pens so they don’t dry out. You keep your yarn tangle free (most of the time).
There’s another tool you use to create, which you might not be taking care of as well as the others. And this is a tool you need to care for, because you only get one, and when it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
That tool is You. Your body, mind, and soul. Your living, breathing, everyday companion in every single thing you do.
It’s possible, if you’re anything like most of the makers I know, that you don’t always care for this precious implement that way you do the rest of your tools. There are probably many good reasons for that. You’re worried about money, or time, or keeping up with the demand for your products. These concerns, and all the others you have, are entirely legitimate. We all have them, especially when we’re starting out.
However, because you only get one You, it’s especially important to do what you can to overcome the barriers keeping you from that self-care. And so I want to invite you, right now, to spend a few moments considering this:
Are there any areas of your life where the tool called You is getting rusty, feeling disheveled, or otherwise falling into disrepair?
The answer is probably yes.
I’m not saying this to scold you; not in the least. We all have spots in our lives where we could brush up on our self-care (me included; I promise). So with that knowledge, and some compassion, too, let’s take note of the spots in your self-care repertoire that could use some spiffing up.
Health: Are you up to date on your doctor, dentist, and other general health visits? How are you eating and sleeping? Do you have the opportunity to regularly move your body? Do you have any ailments that are going untreated?
Work: Do you have the things you need to support you and keep you sane? Are there certain elements of your business that are driving you mad and need some loving attention? Are you working hours that take too high a toll on you physically?
Play: Do you have time for recreation, contemplation, non-doing, laughter? Do you spend regular time with people you adore? Do you do creative things that feed your soul but don’t earn you money?
I know it can be overwhelming to think about all these things at once. Because of that, I recommend that you choose one item (just one, you overachievers!) to approach first. My own personal preference is to work on the one that’s causing me the most discomfort (physical or otherwise) first. For instance, if I hadn’t been feeling well for a few weeks and was getting really worried about my health, I would prioritize getting to the doctor. If I were working so much that I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I’d tackle that puzzle first.
Do what you can, do it in small doses, and do it in the most forgiving, gentle way you can bear.
None of us will ever care for ourselves perfectly, no matter how hard we try. Just like the equipment that you use in your craft, your body and mind wear with age and use, and that’s to be expected. As long as you remember that the tool called You is the most important thing you own, and try to care for it accordingly, you’re very much on the right track.
Share your experiences with self-care in the comments-how are you taking care of your precious tool?
Kylie Bellard is an uber-compassionate empowerment coach and photographer who teaches people to like themselves and care for themselves. You can read her weekly musings on self-esteem, self-care, and doing nothing at www.effervescence.me.