Okay, if you have been online for more than five seconds, I am sure you have heard about self-care. I am sure you associate it with taking a break from your office job or parenting (okay, you can stop laughing now). Bubbles baths and scented candles are probably mentioned.
I say forget that.
Sure, I definitely think you should take a break as an employee or a parent (as much as that is possible). But I think it is especially important for creatives.
You can’t come up with awesome characters or tell your life story if you are burnt out.
Creativity comes from breaks and self-care.
Repeat that until you actually believe it. I know, I know. It might take some time. (I speak from experience.)
And, no, self-care does not have to involve lotion that smells like a thirteen-year-old girl’s room. It really is what works for you.
Sure, I think there are some universal things that help. Exercise is huge (yes, dancing to “The Tide is High” counts). Sleep is obviously a must. Eating well is a good thing (I maintain chocolate is part of the definition of eating well).
But I think so much of it is personal.
It could be riding your motorcycle through the country. It might be going to a winery with a friend. It could be bingeing The Hart of Dixie. It really doesn’t matter as long as it doesn’t hurt yourself or other people.
So often our society glamorizes the tortured artist. That doesn’t work. The muse always likes people who are taking care of themselves; he doesn’t visit those who are drained.
You know what burning the candle at both ends does?
It leaves you with no candle. No candle=no light. Also, it is also really hard to write in the dark.
So take a break. Step away from your computer and do whatever lights you up. Seriously, close this email and dance to some Blondie. You might get your next story idea as you spin around the room.