Lifestyle

Creativity as a Doorway to Self Care

“Self care”. We are hearing this everywhere as it is one of the latest and greatest buzzwords in the wellness industry.  It is something we are reading/hearing about on a regular basis, but very few of us put it to practice in real life.

I mean, who has time for candle lit, rose petal baths when there is so much work to be done, errands to run, meals to make, families to feed, and relationships to tend to?

We are all busy – I’m an entrepreneur, a dietitian, a health coach, a life long student, a family member, a friend, a teacher, a neighbor, a volunteer…and quite honestly, I don’t even have a bathtub. However, despite my busy life, I am able to practice self care every second of every day, because it is not about bubble baths and indulging for me. For me, self care is about taking care of myself on a mental and emotional level. When I prioritize my mental and emotional well-being, taking care of myself on a physical level becomes much easier.

If you are or have been a private client of mine, you are familiar with the Circle of Life worksheet.  Which tells us areas of our lives where we are strong, and areas of our lives where we need to pay a little more attention. One of the areas some of my clients and myself like to focus on is creativity. We ultimately are using creativity as a doorway to self-care, an access to the space inside ourselves that is calmed, centered, and soothed by the act of creating art or creating something (a meal, a journal entry, reorganizing a room/closet, decorating a space). Research shows that creativity can be a healing force for the body and the mind because the creative process helps release brain chemicals that aid in relieving stress, improving symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improves self-esteem.

Here are a few self care practices beyond the bubble baths to get our creative juices stirring:

1. Make time to simply “play” in your body. Not exercise. Not yoga. Not an aerobics class. No rules. Just ask you body what it wants to do to PLAY.

2. Invite a mess. Do something tactile with your hands that isn’t about a finished product. It’s not about finishing, it’s about the mess making.

3. Make some white space in your schedule that can be for whatever your heart desires. Ask yourself: What do I want to do right now? You want to take a nap? Take a nap. You want to work on a knitting project? Work on that project. You want to bake? Get out the measuring cups.

However you choose to do your self care, whether it is a bubble bath or getting creative, this is a conscious, mindful, heartfelt choice. A choice that you make to nourish yourself on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. It’s a choice to be the absolute best that you can be for yourself, which makes you better for those around you. Take it beyond the bubble bath – your mind, body, and spirt will thank you.

“The creative act is the wealthiest thing you could do for yourself in a day.”
– Guru Jagat

Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

Author Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

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