Oh February, a month of revealing all things black culture and showing love to friends, family, and lovers. So far, February has started off to be a slow yet chill month. Client projects have been wrapped up and nothing is pending at the moment, my first lettering workshop is all wrapped up, and no plan for another for a couple of months.
Typically in business when things are slow it’s very easy for panic to ensue. You start questioning when you’ll book your next gig and start pounding away at filling your calendar with more to-dos (I’m no stranger to all of the above!) But rather than trying to fill my calendar with event after event, pushing myself to the limit, and invoking a mindset of scarcity, I’m choosing to use this season as an opportunity to reconnect back to self and nurture my creativity.
It’s been some time since I’ve engaged in creative practice simply for play. Usually, everything is tied to a deadline, prospective project, or something I’m creating for others to consume. It’s very rare that I get an opportunity to play, be new at something, and be ok with not working for the purpose of turning my art into a product or monetizing my work.
As a full-time mom and small business owner, time is often seen as fleeting and a race to seize every ounce of each day by being “productive”. But during this month of celebrating blackness and love, I think it’s important to choose rest and replenish my creative energy in all aspects of life. Mind, Body, Soul.
Embracing the slowness of the season and listening to what is happening rather than resisting.
Yes, I agree, it is a counterproductive way of running a business if you look at it from the gaze of hustle culture. Hustle culture calls for maximum output at all times and views time as fleeting and scarce. But what if rather than viewing stillness as a lack of progress, we instead viewed stillness as an important factor in helping us grow as individuals. It supports us in our efforts to show up for ourselves and equips us to make sound decisions in our business while catering to the creative spirit.
Being creative or having a creative practice does not necessarily have to be done in a single-minded way meaning lettering (in my case), painting, writing that book etc. There are other parts to us that help fuel our longingness to make, design, cut, sew, write etc. If there is one thing I’m leaning more into as I’m in the early days of being a self-employed artist it’s the need to practice self-love and express myself in ways that don’t involve my business but are simply good life habits I want to continue to instill within.
These habits I’m making room for this month I’m hoping to continue to build upon them and make changes as I go. Allowing for space to be fluid and readjust as life demands change.
In this season of love here are the 5 ways I’m practicing self-love through creativity
Reading rather than Scrolling
I’m always telling myself I don’t have time to read a book but yet I’ll spend 30 mins to 1hr easy on mindlessly scrolling through the gram, Twitter or Youtube. This was time that I already had in my day that I was using to engage in things that were not serving me. As much as social media is an important part of growing my business, there have to be boundaries associated with how much time is spent on these apps. What goes into your mind and what you ingest in your mind fuels your mindset. Spending so much time on apps left me feeling unfilled with myself and gave room for negative self-talk to manifest. Rather than willingly subjecting myself to behaviors that don’t give me a desired outcome (feeling replenished or inspired), it was best to redirect that energy to something that does. Reading fuels my mind and my imagination. It helps with my writing and is something I can escape to when my anxiety is on the rise.
Cooking more Meals
With food cost rising all across the board and being on a fixed income, meal prepping and planning has become a necessity in my household. When looking for ways to cut down on expenses, I noticed that a good portion of our budget was being spent on eating out. I love cooking so this was an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen with meal prepping and making foods we would normally buy out at home. This allows experimentation at home, expanding my skills in the kitchen and prioritizing my nutritional health. My physical health is also important to me and every health journey has to start with food so cooking more meals is a creative expression in itself so this was a win-win. Save money, eat out less, get in better physical shape, and express myself creatively in the kitchen. What more can you ask!
My physical health is a priority and always has been. Though this is the case, I allowed the idea of needing someone else to guide me in a workout routine to stop me from exercising regularly. If I couldn’t find a routine that I was motivated to do, I simply wouldn’t workout. This month I’ve started removing that idea of following guided workout routines and started trusting my ability to create a regime that is easy to follow and thoroughly gets my body moving. From self-guided yoga to knee exercises to help strengthen my joints, I’ve loved the freestyle of my workouts and the flexibility it gives me during each routine. I’m tending to the parts of my body that I know need the most attention and trusting in my knowledge and my body to guide me in telling me what she needs. This gentleness with movement has been a perfect escape from monotonous routines that felt rigid and I’m having fun in the process.
There are so many ideas that have been living on my to-do list waiting for me to get to them. Since I’m caught up on things that needed immediate attention, I’ve found room to bring my own ideas to life. Right now I’m working on a piece in celebration of black history month and working on my lettering and graphic design skills. Without the pressure of pending client work, I can play and make the things that I want to see in the world. Through play and experimentation, I’m sure this will help strengthen my creative voice since there’s no pressure to please anyone but myself. I’ll be sharing the final piece when it’s complete and will see what new projects I can get started over the course of the month. My hope is that by finding more time for creative play, I can start to figure out ways to have a regular creative practice in my day-to-day life.
Nothing kills creativity faster than loneliness and isolation. Since leaving my full-time job at the end of 2022 I now spend the majority of my days with little contact with others. Being in the winter season also leaves me with even less desire to get out of the house. But community and fresh air are also the cure for feeling lonely so I try to get out of the house more often during the week. Much more so than I did when working my 8-5. I feel like I have freedom in my day. I enjoy stepping outside and feeling the cool morning air even if it’s simply to run a quick errand. Visiting a friend on occasion has also been great for fostering a connection with people who love and care for me, which includes getting out of the house more often with my little one for more exposure to other kids. It’s been a nice change of things getting out and breaking the monotony of the day to connect with nature. This has been great for my creativity because I get a change in environment and let the world be my teacher.
In what ways have you been practicing self-love through creativity and what impact has it had in your life? Tell me more about it in the comments below!