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This week’s post comes from Louis Warren, a Life Coach for musicians. Louise is a singer songwriter herself, a certified life coach, and has so much wonderful advice for creatives. If you’re struggling with happiness when it comes to your creativity, read this post TODAY and TOMORROW, and the next day! Print it out and keep it close – trust me, you’ll want to refer back to this when you’re having a hard time.
Self-Care for Songwriters and Creatives From an Actual Life Coach for Musicians
Show of hands, have you ever experienced burnout while pursuing your dreams?
If you were to see me through your computer screen, my hand would so be up. I’ve built my dream jobs (yes, 2!) around my passions: singer/songwriter and working as a life coach for creatives.
And confession time: I used to be a classic people-pleaser and workaholic. I LIVED in a state of constant burnout and I didn’t know how to break the pattern.
Then, I would sit down at my guitar, stair at the blank page, mind surging still with work worries and exhaustion and there would be…nothing. A whole lotta nothing.
No one has to be a tortured artist.
I was told for so much of my life the story of the ‘tortured artist’. How true artists constantly lived on this self-destructive edge of life, suffering to create. That that stereotype was to be admired. And here I was, right on the edge of that cliff over and over and I wasn’t anymore creative. In fact, I was less.
And guess what?
As creatives, WE are the instruments.
We are the vessels of our masterpieces. Our voices, our minds, our bodies, our emotional and spiritual well-being are contributing spokes to our ability to bring forth our creative wheel ideas to their fullest form. They must work together, as a whole.
You couldn’t play the best riff (or any for that matter) on a guitar with the neck ripped off! Why, then, do you expect your creative muscle to pull massive weight with no rest?
We are the most creatively productive when we’re happy!
Studies have actually shown that we are actually MORE productive when we are happy. And you know what makes me happiest? When all areas of my life are tended to and nurtured, intentionally and mindfully.
When I’m engaging with the world with a sense of connection and adventure, I write more.
When I’m well-rested and able to keep my eyes open, I write more.
When I journal and care for my inner-self, I ‘suddenly’ know where I want to take that project or song.
We are not separate from our work. Therefore, self-care becomes a necessary part of creating at a higher frequency.
What self-care really means
I remember how much reading Cheryl Richardson’s book The Art of Extreme Self-Care, impacted me, especially the first time through. It is not an exaggeration to say that I didn’t even know what self-care truly was, let alone how to implement it.
These days we see #selfcare next to pretty (almost too pretty) instagram photos of baths, face masks, and that morning cup of joe. But there is more to self-care than treats and pampering. There is more to self-care than being the latest buzzword.
Self-care is about parenting yourself, truly adult-ing in all areas of your life and not outsourcing the job of your wellness. You deserve success not just as a brilliant songwriter, but in all areas of your life.
So how can you actually apply these ideas to you life?
The areas of Self-Care Defined:
Growth and development, goal creation, spending time with loved ones can all be a part of this area.
Moving your body daily, eating a nourishing diet, getting plenty of sleep.
Your financial self-care and boundaries around your work life.
How you are feeling on a daily basis and your overarching feelings of self-love.
Mental health, learning new skills, writing out your thoughts in a daily journal.
Your connection to life. This can look different for each person no matter what you believe.
How to apply self-care in your own life:
Step 1: Evaluate where you are.
Take a look at the self-care wheel and get raw about how you are showing up in your life. We typically only do this sort of evaluating around the start of the year but this is for a deeper purpose. I’m not wanting you to tell me about your goals and accomplishments. I want to know how you truly FEEL. Take a written snapshot of each area of where are now and describe your starting point as vividly as you can.
Step 2: Write down what you want to feel.
On a separate page, take those same areas and tell me how you want to feel. What needs are not getting met? What dreams are laying dormant inside of you? Where are you showing the greatest resistance to soul-healing change. USE your inner dreamer for this step and write down what you truly NEED from each area to thrive. Allow your answer to be different from times past or the person next to you. Needs are deeply personal.
Pro-tip: As creatives, add time for your craft! I know, for me songwriting covers my personal, professional, emotional, psychological, and even spiritual categories. And depending on if I’m pulling a Pete Townshend with my guitar, it could even fall under the physical category. I could windmills as arm workouts!
Step 3: Action plan.
Make an action plan. What area needs the most work? Start super small, tweaking one change at a time. If you try to make changes all at once, it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed. Take it line for line, note for note. How can you fulfill these needs? Remember they are non-negotiable. It is okay to say no to what is optional or extracurricular in your life to make room for what nourishes you.
Self-care is not a destination. I still comb through all the different aspects of my life regularly to see if my needs are being met. There is a lot of power in editing and refining. But then again, as fellow writers I’m sure you know that all too well.