Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Importance of Self-Care

My dear friend, Elysbeth has selected her word for the year - since the Jewish New Year started the other day, she has selected "Nurturance" as her word to carry her through the coming year.

As everyone knows, my blog is calling "Hanging By a Thin Thread" for a damned good reason. Self-nurturing is essential whenever you are stressed - and who in the world isn't these days?

Julia Cameron wrote "The Artist Way" about 15 years ago and it is a goldmine of ideas for self-care and developing one's creativity. One of her best suggestions drawn from this book is the "Artist Date."

An Artist Date is a time you set aside each week to spend with yourself doing something childlike, playful, creative or just downright FUN. It's preferably spent alone, but you can also include a partner or friend.

Here are some of my favorite Artist Dates I've experienced:

**Visited the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City and gone inside the Budhist Temple exhibit for a wonderfully refreshing meditation session on the stone bench inside. Luckily, it was a slow day at the museum so no one disturbed me.

**Walking in a wooded area near my house on a brisk Autumn day and collecting some beautiful leaves. I later came home and pressed them into waxed paper using an iron.

**Sitting outside on my back porch with a hot cup of coffee and watching the sun rise.

**The classic but highly effective stress reliever: Taking a long relaxing warm bubble bath while wearing a scented facial mask to tighten my pores.

**Going camping in an old fashioned tent with my husband and daughter - building our own fire and cooking outside.

**Going to the circus.

**Visiting the Unity rose garden or the Labyrinth and enjoying a walking meditation.

**Making bread from scratch. This is an all-day undertaking, and my favorite bread to make is Challah (Jewish) for Shabbat. I also enjoy making Poppy Seed cookies, an old recipe Bob's Aunt Renee passed down to me.

**Cooking some delicious soup in the crock pot and eating it in front of the fire.

**Sitting at my piano - when everyone is gone from the house, and practicing my very BAD piano playing with the elementary music books I still have squirreled away in the piano bench.

**Going to a luxurious hotel lobby, even if I'm not really staying there and sitting in one of their comfy chairs knitting or reading. (No one ever questions whether I'm a guest or not).

**Setting up my spinning wheel on a cool day and spinning to my heart's content while watching Elisabeth Zimmerman videos.

**Select one of your favorite time periods and immerse yourself in that time period. For me, listening to 1920's music from a collection I bought and pretending I'm a flapper. My friend, Lynn H. (ColorJoy) has a couple of these CDs you can find here that she and her huband have made, they are really fun to listen to, especially while doing folding laundry or doing some otherwise mundane task.

I also love re-watching old movies set during that time period such as Paper Moon. There is going to be a new movie out shortly set during that period calling Changeling. But pick YOUR favorite time period and experience it through your favorite clothing, jewelry, music, movies. What fun!

Now - what could YOU do to nurture yourself this week? What are Artist Dates you've done or would like to try?

1 comment:

Ellen Bloom said...

L' Shana Tova! Happy New Year to you!

Excellent post. I like to drive up into the hills above Los Angeles, near the Griffith Park Observatory and gaze over the City to clear my head. I always feel better up there.

Of course, just sitting and knitting or crocheting a few rows is my favorite way to relax. I try to do this daily!