Self Care for Creative People

Sheila Chandra - Friday, January 03, 2020

It’s a new year – time to learn some good artist self-care habits that will sustain you behind the scenes. Start as you mean to go on!


Creative people need an individual approach to self-care

Being a creative person can be exhausting and draining without a self-care practise.We lead a life that is outside the norm with strange hours and working conditions. Things change quickly and each minute and each month is different. As a creative person, you’ll need a wealth of self-care resources and practises to draw from based on your own patterns and industry.

Start by assessing yourself and your working practices. Think about issues you’ve had in the past. Do you have trouble saying no? Do you work for long hours in the same position? Does your mind suffer first if you get stressed? Knowing your weaknesses and vulnerabilities helps you work out what you’ll need, spot common patterns and personalise your self-care practise. Write a list of your common stressors.

Self-care is preventative medicine for creative people

There’s a reason why self-care isn’t just a ‘frill’ that artists can cut back on. You are your most precious resource, because there’s never going to be another you to create your work and you can’t just buy a new young and fit body off the shelf.

Your body and mind are probably strong, but all creative people, including you, have their limits, and a self-care practise acts as a preventative measure. After all, you want to stay fit for a long and successful career – and you won’t always be young. So set some good habits in motion now. Your body will thank you for it.

For instance, can you get the same work done in 3 x 4 hour sessions instead of pulling all-nighter? Is the all-nighter worth it if you are wrecked for days afterwards? Self-care is often about making smart choices that prevent harm. Above all, never work if you think doing so will cause you permanent injury. Better to lose a client than your capacity to work.

For instance, can you get the same work done in 3 x 4 hour sessions instead of pulling all-nighter? Is the all-nighter worth it if you are wrecked for days afterwards? Self-care is often about making smart choices that prevent harm. Above all, never work if you think doing so will cause you permanent injury. Better to lose a client than your capacity to work.

Be creative with your self-care practises

Work out what self-care means for you. It could be walking, journaling, time alone, meditation, swimming, breathing techniques, coffee with a friend or reading fiction. What rejuvenates you? Look out for new ways that make you feel good and recharge your creative batteries. Do you work better when you take a break every 40 minutes? Does adjusting the light help you write for longer periods? Does listening to a soothing song before you perform help to calm your nerves? Notice what works for you. Ask other creative people what their self-care practises are. Be curious and observant.

Creative people’s bodies need self-care too

We use our bodies to paint, sing, dance, play instruments and create. Don’t endanger your body with excessive alcohol, drugs or extreme sports. Nourish yourself with food and take time to recover from illness. Get enough sleep. Exercise. Go outdoors. Wear protective gear (earplugs, masks) when needed. Is your working space ergonomic? Are you warm enough? Notice which parts of your body hurt after you’ve been working for hours. Self-care encompasses physical practises like adjusting your chair, doing regular stretches or regulating the room temperature. Be attentive and listen to your body.

If you’re young and male, I know that this advice is going to seem ‘soft’ – but take it from someone old (in your eyes anyway!). Those injuries and ways you neglect yourself are going to come back to haunt you sooner than you think. The body stops repairing itself after a while. And you don’t want to be bothered with limitations you didn’t need to have. So be efficient and start taking care of yourself. You’ve only got this one body to last you your whole lifetime!

Resting is part of self-care for creative people

Whether it’s resting your mind or your body - we all need “down time”. Many creative people are workaholics who are scared they’ll lose their magic if they stop. But tired brains are not terribly creative. In fact, a tired brain starts to stew in its own toxins. What if your magic improved after resting? Your state of mind can change drastically after a nap. Make a place by the window with some cushions to doze, or even read a book. Turn your phone to airplane mode. Put yourself into self-care mode and have a guilt-free rest.

How creative people manage self-care when they’re stressed

Being able to identify the source of the stress is incredibly useful. You’ll often have too much on your plate. Are you expecting too much of yourself? Is there an issue you’ve been avoiding dealing with? Are you overscheduled with work that isn’t that essential? Work out what the problem is. Then you can plan a long term strategy to deal with it. Make a list of which self-care practices work for you in particularly stressful situations. You’ll be grateful for that list during times when you are so stressed that you can’t even think. Or recruit a friend who can ‘prescribe’ you some rest when you’re too tired to work out what you need.

My book ‘Organizing Your Creative Career’ is full of ways to stay on top of your career while taking good care of yourself. A new revised print version is out on 14th January 2020.

Or if you need one-to-one advice, work with me via Skype. Email me at for a free 30 minute consultation to find out how I can help you.




Post has no comments.
Post a Comment

Captcha Image


Recent Posts


emotional resilience anxiety social media loving your audience networking stop cluttering spree grief loss stop hoarding stuff disorganization values binge coaching sheila chandra coaching clearing as you go workspaces artist workspaces myth home life stardust 20202 goals wardrobe green room stay tidy automatically creativity diary platform work/home life balance ‘creativity’ guilty purchases double standard social media networking sustainability creative confidence fall of innocence emotional balance quality tidying self promotion morning routines business-speak touring domestic life hoarding just in case professional creative career great art clarity of thought copyright working class artists funding business exhaustion hijacking creativity trope VIPs appointments effortlessly tidy cupboard of shame crowdfunding being tripped up clearing clean desk creative magic negotiating absences home care low maintenance strategies creative organising goals nurturing creative work clutter symptoms of creativity slim-line wardrobe tension control brands buying stardust proposal writing clear desk diary hostile clutter buying happiness career strategy much better friend living mess free getting ready for work productivity critical acclaim temperament branding options imagination artist studio home organising the void 2020 goals tidy desk creative commissions writer clearing clutter tips for clearing singer brilliant creator artists stay on top of email pop culture author concentrated creative time diagnosis motivation visualising why organise artist materials well organized buying wealth pop music tidy creativity tidiness in living spaces new year email normality how to work efficiently good health for artists minimalists theft peer-to-peer networks display items mess artist buy fewer clothes housework much quicker card communication too busy peacefulness artistic chaos business interface to creative businesses Sheila Chandra author magic how to save time successful artist warm down artistic conviction introverts good art work collections work life 2018 goals streamlining routines friends artist mentors creative career confident in clothes arrogance : clothes mature artists dynamic spaces . audience slow and steady innocence tidier creative wellbeing working with other artists self-care lazy under-confidence nurture creativity vocation new chapter how to be naturally tidy prioitising professional encouragement focus overwork proposals elevator pitch hotel room business-like cleaning your desk efficient work patterns storage criteria for letting go of stuff multiple lifetimes feel like creatiing friendships organisation well curated closet target market working class culture cry creative identity work trips saving time creative people living clutter free bulk buy car being organized lifetimes hobbies making decisions emotional support tidy people pricing vulnerability popular culture inspiration artist workspace networking effectively long-term artistic development artist mentoring boredom wind down artist collaboration great artists clearing in short bursts organise emotionally secure artist fine art clear outs professional mentors good creative habits solving creative career problems low maintenance artist goals nascent artists tortoise and hare email bankruptcy chaotic creative person creative culture creative ambitions cherry-picking letting go creative spark feeling creative mornings artistry parent missed opportunities work efficiently subconscious mind buying youth sacrifice musician how it feels to be coached precious memories clutter free good friend static spaces creative career coaching culture new revised print version email overload commitment ‘stories’ about your possessions procrastination organizing for creative people network cleaning celebrity endorsed products clutter addict staying in control resentment buying hope childhood work priorities nipping things in the bud smart artists compulsion too many commitments time clutter inconvenience jealousy to do list writing funding campaigns partners organizing your creative career