Self-care is a hard concept to grasp—perhaps because it can mean different things for everybody. Some might need a night out with friends, whereas others require a weekend trip to the spa. Regardless of what you consider as self-care, it's essential to maintain your physical and mental health, as it directly affects the health of your business.
As creatives, our work is often demanding of our time and energy. Evenings and weekends are typically spent catching up on client work or planning out your content marketing strategy for the next quarter. If you're the type to skip meals due to lack of time or you miss family dinners at home, listen up to what these creatives have to say about their favorite self-care tips:
Pick up a book. “I read daily,” shares Michelle Loretta of Sage Wedding Pros. “Books are my therapy. They calm me and distract me. Reading is a great way to get out of my head and out of my phone addiction. It’s like a small vacation. I come back a lot more refreshed and focused.”
Go for a walk. “I love to make time every week to go for a silent walk in the woods without my phone,” says Keith Phillips of Classic Photographers. “This is a great way to clear your mind, relax and think creatively. It allows me to get out of the day to day and really let the fresh thoughts and ideas flow. When you are always in front of your computer or in the shop, you are focused on the task in front of you, and you forget to think about the big picture.”
Get pampered. “My absolute favorite way to practice self-care is with a monthly Thai massage,” says Ashley Greer of Atelier Ashley Flowers. “I go for an hour and a half to clear my mind and get my body stretched out. After a Thai massage, very little bothers me. Nothing seems urgent or pressing, and I am able to think about things calmly and rationally.”
Make it a daily habit. “I have timers set in between my meetings to stretch and move,” shares Shannon Tarrant of Wedding Venue Map. “The entire day would fly by and, other than getting up once or twice maybe, I hadn’t moved at all. Setting timers into my schedule gives me the reminder I need to get up and get some movement in.”
Drink up. “This might sound a little odd, but I always keep orange juice on hand at the office,” explains Meryl Snow of SnowStorm Solutions. “Studies have found that the high levels of vitamin C in orange juice actually reduce the stress hormone, cortisol, in your body—so it can actually help to de-stress. I keep a glass on my desk and, when I start to feel stressed out, I take a sip and remind myself to relax.”
Get active. “My favorite thing to do for self-care is pickleball,” shares Oleta Collins of Flourishing Art. “To get out on the courts and exercise, dink a ball over the net or spike it with all my might, helps release all kinds of endorphins that I need. If I come to work and haven’t played pickleball at least twice that week, my employees know—then they tell me I need to go get my aggressions out on the court.”
Do your chores. “I actually find it incredibly therapeutic to mow the lawn, pull weeds, and tend to my vegetable garden,” tells Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services. “I’m able to decompress and hit reset. Then, I can come back the next day feeling refreshed and energized.”
Forgive yourself. “One of the biggest challenges I have with self-care is that, for the majority of my life, I looked at it as a reward program,” says Arden Upton of Arden Photography. “When I did something well, I would reward myself with a manicure. When I didn’t meet or exceed my goals, I would forego treating myself. Don’t fall into this trap! You need to be treated well regardless of whether you did the perfect job. In fact, if you treat yourself well mentally and physically, you will become more successful in general.”
Whether you take one or all of these tips to heart, it’s time to explore the self-care strategies that make you feel good. If you don’t take time to yourself, you risk reaching a point of burnout and overwhelm that has ripple effects throughout your job performance, interpersonal relationships, and mental health. You work so hard every day—you deserve to set that work aside every now and then to ensure that you are on top of your game.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.