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.
Such a timely post! I just published a post myself on self-care over at my blog for The Declaration of You Blog Lovin’ Tour. It must be in there air! You’ve made some wonderful points and suggestions here. If we can even do one thing to take care of ourselves better, then we are off to a good start! For me, it’s fitting in exercise. Thanks for giving me a little push to get that checked off today!
Yay! I’ll need to mosey on over for a read, then. You are SO right that just doing one thing makes a difference. It does! I agree on exercise. It. Is. The best.
Kylie! Speaking of things I adore, you are now on the list…I received two feeds mentioning you just this morning: Jessica Ward’s Newsletter + OM!HG. I’ve been wandering around your site this morning…happy dance! 🙂
I must say the point that resonate most with me was “Do you spend regular time with people you adore?” – since seeing Jim Rohn’s quote “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I have been made keenly aware of just how true his statement is, and how very important your reminder is.
From the time I was little I have been a ‘feelings / attitude sponge’ soaking up whatever vibes are closest, internalizing, and then finally wringing them out on unsuspecting people (read: my mom, now my husband, and sadly when it gets bad my darling girl.)
Realizing this, I make great efforts to stay positive around grumpy folks + encourage them to look for the sunshine in their situation. Searching for it, and helping others do so to, has made an enormous difference. I also psych myself up before meeting with difficult people + try to stay aware of how their conversation / mood is making me feel. If I’ve had enough, I excuse myself and start a dialog with someone else.
I still slip into sponge mode ever now and then, but I often hear myself grumping all over the place and say ‘Straighten up girl! This isn’t you!’ Thankfully, I can usually alter my mood with that little pep-talk unless I’m tired or hungry, in which case a nap (especially with my kiddo) or a snack (apple + peanut butter) do the trick. 🙂
Thanks for the self-love reminder. I’m looking forward to following you here + elsewhere! 🙂
Oh, gosh! Well, I’m so glad this is what you needed to read. I’m glad you brought up the importance of the people we spend time with. For lots of people, their companions aren’t the first thing they think of when they think of self-care. But for both extroverts and introverts, the people we interact with affect us.
(Also, sounds like you might be a Highly Sensitive Person, like me! Have you read The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine Aron? If not, I think you would get a lot out of it. http://www.hsperson.com/pages/hsp.htm)
I haven’t read it, but it’s on my list now. Thanks! 🙂
So true, and truly a lovely reminder! The one area I lack in is sleep. I can always tell when I need more rest, things seem to fray more quickly — and most of them time the fraying is only in my mind! Sleep not only messes with your physical health but with your emotional health, too.
Good reminders I need to do myself. Pritorizing is one of the hardest things with being a Mom and wonder woman.
This is a fantastic article and it really struck a cord with me. I shared the link in my newsletter this week, so I hope it brings this post some much needed attention by artists who take great care of their “things” but not themselves.
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