Supporting the Artist Within

Daily Sketch Practice, Cheetah, WIP

As I am settling into my new life, I am enjoying the freedom of a life “reset”. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day job of living year after year and have areas in ones life that sort of slide into habit. Some of the habits are good, and some can, shall I say, stand a bit of improvement and review!

I have been busy setting into place, not only habits of working and practice, but habits that support my mind and body so that I can enjoy working for as long as possible. Here are a few of the things I do. I am in no way saying everyone needs to do these things, each person must determine what they need in life, but I find the following habits to be critical for my health and happiness.

I believe that taking care of one’s body to the best of your abilities is a necessity in life. I have learned this lesson the hard way so I am no perfect example! So, to support my physical self, I have committed to exercising 6 days a week. This is necessary for my body. I manage an autoimmune disease through physical exercise, as well as mental health and nourishing foods. Currently, I have joined a Crossfit gym and, at nearly 58 years of age, I am learning how to strengthen my body through Olympic style weight lifting. The side benefit is the self-confidence building. At 4 weeks into my membership, I have deadlifted (inadvertently I will admit!) 15lbs over my body weight. I had no idea I could do that and I am just beginning! I know that not everyone wants to do this kind of physical activity but the point is to pick one that you love and makes you feel good. Getting out for a walk, a bike ride, chair yoga, or just stretching, are all wonderful activities too. There is something for every level.

I have also set up a practice to make it really easy to eat nourishing food even if I get lost in time while painting or drawing. Today (Sunday) is my food prep day. I put a wonderful podcast on and get the ingredients I need made, proportioned, and stored to put together with fresh vegetables to create a healthy meal. I will admit, one of the perks to being on my own is that I only need to prep food for one, but I do eat whole foods made from scratch, which takes time. There is plenty of information and videos on social media dealing with food prep for families out there too.

The area that I have needed to work on the most, is supporting my mental health. Having gone through a sudden, traumatic, life-altering change, it has been important to spend time healing and building up mental health. I can honestly say that the hard work is paying off. While I still have a ways to go, I generally feel happy, optimistic, healthy, and strong. It allows me to finally focus on my art. That is key, right?

The resources I have used for mental health have been everything from journaling and meditation, to online counseling. In the past, I shied away from counseling, not wanting to spend the money for one thing. I realized that I needed to invest in myself and am fortunate that I am in a place in my life where I could do that. There is low-cost, and sometimes free, counseling available online these days, just do the important research to find what will work for you!

Finally, trying something new-to-you can be healthful as well. On a whim, I pulled out a few battered pastel pencils that were given to me and crumbling Pan pastels to experiment with on the cheetah sketch above. I started out just wanting to put a darker tone in behind the cheetah which then led to wanting a bit of warmer color, then one thing led to another and here I am. It is ok if I make a mess of this. I know I can draw it again!

I would love to hear what you do to support yourself on your creative journey! I know what I wrote above is just the tip of the iceberg. Do you intentionally take time to make personal connections? Do you have a day where you pamper and nourish yourself? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments.

Yours in truth and beauty,

-Renee

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