Despite a plethora of articles and books on the topic of obtaining work/life balance, most of us still can’t turn off and relax. For entrepreneurs, it can be especially challenging to strike a balance that allows for creativity and productivity. Social media and technology make it even more difficult, as for many it is a key component to their business, and they feel compelled to be on it all the time.
The expectation of working night and day even leaves some creatives feeling a little guilty for taking a break. And when it comes to self-care, it’s usually not even part of the equation. As women, it is so important that we honor ourselves and our needs, so we can lead full lives and have successful careers. For creatives, this is especially true, as that honoring is where the seeds of creativity live and bloom.
Minding the time
While it takes a great deal of creativity to run any business, women who are visual artists, poets, writers, musicians, etc. rely on their creativity and artistic talent for everything they do, so they need to be especially mindful of balancing their lives, their work and their “me time.”
Those with artistic leanings know that creativity typically has an agenda of its own. It isn’t always there, flowing and productive, and that can be stressful, especially if there is a deadline looming. The flipside is creative overdrive. The excitement of a new project suddenly throws them into high gear, and before they know it, the sun is coming up, they haven’t slept a wink and they need to get to the office or get the kids off to school.
Avoiding the crash
Most of us find creative highs satisfying and certainly productive, even when we are organizing cupboards at midnight, but eventually the crash will come. As Ariana Huffington, author and CEO of Thrive Global notes, “When we take care of ourselves, we are more effective, we are more creative and we are more successful in a broad definition of the word.” Self-care should not be an afterthought, or even worse, something we feel we don’t have the right to. Incorporating those things into your life that nurture and fulfill you will help your work become more enjoyable and your creativity flow more freely.
To help you get started, here are a few useful tips.
Tip # 1: Change your perspective
If you work in the same space all the time, your creativity can become hindered. Sometimes new surroundings can bring a fresh perspective and new flow to your work. When you are feeling stuck in your space, try heading to a local coffee shop or moving your work outside. Or just take a step away for a bit. Stretch a little, look out the window. Find a different view.
Tip #2: Declutter and organize
For many creatives, working on a project is much easier if the space around them is clean and organized. Plus, it can be frustrating when you are trying to work and you are slowed down by not being able to find the tools needed for creating your magic. The more organized you are, the more precious time you save to relax, hang out with friends or go on a date with your significant other.
Tip #3: Get away
If you are feeling overwhelmed or your creative juices aren’t flowing, it may be time to get away and put your work behind you for a while. Take a few days off and go somewhere – stay with a friend, go for walks, go out for dinner, sleep in and don’t think about your work at all. When you return, you will feel refreshed and able to approach your project with new eyes. Or, designate a day or time that is just for you, and protect it. Make it “your time” and don’t budge or compromise on it.
Tip #4: Indulge in creative pastimes
Aside from your own work and projects, find time to engage in other creative pursuits that bring you joy, but that don’t come with a deadline or other pressures. Take a walk in nature and snap some photos, prepare a delicious home-cooked meal, get out the crayons and coloring books or make a dream board. These are all activities that allow you to be creative but are also relaxing and meditative.
Tip #5: Set boundaries
In order to keep the creative flow going, it is important to create some boundaries. This is especially true for those creatives who are also mothers or caregivers and engaged in their communities through volunteering and other activities. Often, we find ourselves having a difficult time saying “no.” While we want to help others and spend time with family and friends, it is important that you don’t say “yes” to everything; if you do, you will never have time to say “yes” to yourself.
Tip #6: Eat, drink and be merry
You need to feed yourself in all of the important areas. Drink a liter of water a day, eat healthy fresh foods that nourish you, find time to laugh with family and friends, dance, listen to music. Enjoy.
Making balance a priority and something that you work toward achieving every day will help you to set boundaries and protect the things that are important to your well-being and your success. Now is the time to put yourself on the to-do list.