This week's post is partly inspired by my dear friend, Barbara from March of Time Books. I knew she was diagnosed with osteoporosis (brittle bones) but never knew how severe her condition is. These days, Barbara strengthens herself through long, leisurely walks in the British countryside and pilates. She even tried Tai Chi for a while. I find her way of coping with a health issue very admirable. And I like how she's taking care of herself. Something many of us want to do, but aren't doing. Especially us creative spirits. We don't seem to take enough care of ourselves.
Book launches. Blog tours. Editing. Writing. Blogging. Illustrating. Studying. Submitting manuscripts. Submitting essays. Marketing. Networking. Honing your craft. Kids' birthdays. Parents-in-laws' visit. House repairs. Health issues etc. (Not to mention stress at every corner.)
Sometimes I read a particular friend's blog telling us how "crazy" her week has been and I feel happy for her (as well as a little envious, I admit) that things seem to be going great. Being busy is good news, right? Then week in, week out, her weeks are always "crazy." Then comes the flu, or cold, or migraines. Oh no.
Hey, my lovely fellow artists, let's do the things we love for a good, long time, okay? Don't burn out and expire before we're due.
I don't have a list of tips on how to stay well. There's a sea of information out there on moving well and eating well. Pick your favourite sport, fish, fruit and vegetables. Add them to your lifestyle. When your body feels good, your mind feels good, too. (Do I sound like an ad here? Sorry!)
I do have an additional suggestion: Nourish well.
Your mood, I mean. How about bringing your mind and heart out on a date? How do you want to feel? What do you want to think about? Perhaps catch a movie that might stir you? Perhaps go for a walk (Before Sunset-style)? Perhaps take a long bus ride where you could take notes on observations along the way?
Here's one I did after a physiotherapy session (for my back, which is good now. But see? Didn't take care of myself enough and it became a $150/session payback.):
Gnarled trunks. Yellow-grey stone buildings. Round streetlamps grown yellow. Beautiful lime-coloured tree-tops. Banners of drunken prawns. A drunken prawns exhibition? Drama Centre -- ooh, a drunken prawns theatre production. Drizzling rain. Like light snow. Lots of folks wearing Japanese straw hats. Tall, old buildings like out of a late-80s TV show. Rows of old shops. Tour agencies. Stamp makers. Chiat Teck Arts & Frames Maker. Muay Thai Fitness. Schoolkids on board. Chatters. Taunts. Shushes. A shopping mall with Euro rustic design and a very traditional Chinese name . . .
(Yes, Singapore is full of contrasts.)
An artist-date + writing exercise. Talk about efficiency, hey?
I'd love to, but I simply don't have the time!
Which is why you MUST make the time. How long do you think you'll need? 30 minutes? 2 hours? You can afford this amount of time just once a week or fortnight. You really can. If you won't take care of yourself, how're you going to take care of everything else?
Actually, it will get easier (especially with exercise). Just pick something you love for each category (fitness, food, dates). Like Barbara. She's having such a good time on her walks, sporting blooms and napping foxes. I'm quite jealous!
Your turn. Have you been taking care of yourself? Do you go on artist dates (visiting museums, catching movies, street-straying, scribbling on bus rides etc.)? Would love to hear about them!
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Really enjoyed the honest voice of this narrator ~ a teenager let down by his mother and the foster care system, and almost-picked up through his involvement with a gang.