These 5 best creative self-care techniques will help you take control of your healing and happiness. You have a responsibility to love the ‘self’ you have been gifted with in this life time. Yet you live in a culture that profits from your self-doubt, insecuries and self-hatred. Therefore loving your natural self can seem self-indulgent, like a rebellious act.
Genuine self-love is not egotistical. Our authentic self has pure love at it’s core. Our true self (our soul) is connected to Source, Creator and the Universe. When we are at one with ourselves, we are at one with the Universe. We feel inspired, content, motivated and at peace.
It’s a psychological fact that we treat ourselves the way we were treated as children. Unless we have faced and dealt with the wounds we have accumulated in this lifetime or other lifetimes, our growth and evolution is limited or even blocked.
If you choose to love yourself, heal your wounds and grow, you naturally will bring more love into the world, experience more freedom and attract more positive experiences. You will be helping the universe expand and flower. The universe mirrors your beliefs. Thus it follows that if you hate your ‘self’; give little time to your ‘self’; don’t know your ‘self’; neglect your ‘self’ or disrespect your ‘self’ your personal universe will be full of negative experiences.
Do you truly love yourself? If you answer “yes”, be sure your behaviour demonstrates this. Loving yourself is an active process, which is why the the disciple of regular self-care is important. Additionally, a regular spiritual practice prepares you to receive guidance of the highest kind from your internal guidance system.
This blog post outlines the 5 best creative self-care techniques that you can adopt as part of your self-care or self-love routine. “Through creativity and imagination, we find our identity and our reservoir of healing. The more we understand the relationship between creative expression and healing, the more we will discover the healing power of the arts.“*
(* Summarised by Heather L. Stuckey, DEd corresponding author and Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH in The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature.)
Best Creative Self-care Techniques 1. Creative Journalling
Writing or drawing your feelings each day is free therapy. It is a brain dump of scattered thoughts, fears and emotions. Expressing yourself by writing, journals, doodling, drawing, creating pictures, making symbols or arranging images is healing. When you express what is left unsaid in writing or art you get peace, space, clarity and closure. Tapping into your unconscious can be very surprising! Expressing your feelings creatively helps develop emotional and intuitive intelligence and resillience.
Healing: When you put your feelings and thoughts on the page, you see cycles, patterns and themes. You can observe your negative soundtrack: the inner critical voice. Hence it looses it’s power. Journalling is a form of meditation: the negative thoughts are the clouds you observe passing by. One of the reasons why the saying ‘better out than in’ exists is because buried emotions have the power to weigh you down and take up a huge amount of psychic energy to suppress. By writing them down, you release them.
Intuition: Your left-brain is associated with logical, rational/sequential, analytical and objective thinking. It is concerned with reduction and individual parts. By contrast, your right-brain is associated with abstract, synthesising, subjective, holistic thinking and intuition. Intuition is about listening to what our senses are saying to us; and our feelings are big part of that.
People who live only connected to their left brain – and those who have cut off from their feelings (i.e. due to a painful emotions that are too overwhelming or too frightening to work through) – can experience difficulties accessing their intuition.
To develop your intuition, take time to write down and reflect on dreams, personal oracle card/tarot readings, signs, symbols, coincidences, and any other intuitive hits. This process will strengthen your connection with your own inner wisdom while developing your intuitive vocabulary. As your relationship with your emotions develops, so does your intuition and precognition (ability to sense the future).
Best Creative Self-care Techniques 2. Scrapbooking
The traditional family scrapbook I remember from childhood was a collection of photos, postcards, sweet wrappers, tickets, dried flowers, invitations, crayon drawings and scraps of early writing. It encapsulated a period of time and brought back sentimental memories. Rather than look backwards and get stuck in the past, your modern day scrapbook can be a collection of ideas, images, places, colours, photos, found objects, postcards, pretty papers, etc, that inspire you and lift you up.
Your scrapbook can reflect your personal tastes and all the things you love about the world. It will revive you on a rainy day – or when you hit a creative block. Alternatively, do it on Pinterest.
[* I will share a page from my own creative scrapbook. Even though I made it in 2008 my scrapbook still makes be feel excited when I flick through the pages today.]
Best Creative Self-care Techniques 3. Wishboard
The theory behind vision boards or wish boards is that what you focus on you create more of. If you are familiar with The Secret DVD or book, you will be familiar with the idea of manifestation. Yet manifestation is actually a very ancient creative tool. Even the bible rates it: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” Vision boards are easy and fun to make.
I have made two vision boards in recent years. The wishboard that I created in January 2015 I made into a screensaver so I would see it everytime I used my computer. At the time, I wanted to create firmer boundaries in my life, more financial wealth and to strengthen my connection to nature. Only 18 months later, almost EVERYTHING on it had come to pass or was in the process of coming to pass!
I believe that a vision board focuses your mind, your wishes, intentions and goals. The symbols interact with your subconscious so that it identifies with the images, believing them to already exist as part of your physical life. Hence you can pull these experiences to you with more ease.
In late 2017 I created a huge A1 wishboard and had it printed and laminated. It sits over my desk. Already some aspects of the board have come into my life.
Collect photographs, sketches, magazine cuttings and art to symbolise what you would like more of in your life and assemble them on a board (e.g. a cork board or large piece of paper/card). Glue into place and add any appropriate words (e.g. “success on my own terms”, “a bigger support network“) to highlight the key desires or themes.
Place the board in a position you will see regularly, e.g. above your work desk, on the back of your bedroom door, or on a kitchen cupboard. I created mione on a computer so I have it as a screensaver on my 22 inch monitor.
Your wishes can be big and specific (“I am a best selling author“) or small and general (“I want to have more fun in my life“). To increase your wishboard’s potency state every written wish as fact, using “I am…” statement, e.g. “I am rich“. Date your wish board so you can see how quickly your dreams materialise. Have fun!
Best Creative Self-care Techniques 4. Colouring
Adult colouring books have become wildly popular in the last couple of years. They give a huge selection of patterns (animals, mandalas, nature, flowers, tattoo designs, cityscapes, etc) so it’s easy to create beautiful pictures for your home while reducing your stress levels.
Scientific research (Walsh et al, 2007) suggests art making, such as doodling and colouring, in is a form of meditation: it reduces anxiety as measured by cortisol, the stress hormone. Colouring books are used in art therapy because of their known benefits. This creative play reminds us of our childhoods and is another way of re-connecting with our unconscious.
Like Julia Camerons ‘morning pages’ process, colouring-in by-passes your analytical left brain so your uncensored thoughts and feelings appear on the page as dazzling colours and contrasts.
“There are times that art is more beneficial than some of my medications, plus when I am done I am more cheerful and blissful than when I started. It is a miracle, and ever since this miracle happened in my life, I have wanted to share with others how I use art to cope with pain.” Jennifer Stay, Artist, coloringpagesbliss.com
Best Creative Self-care Techniques 5. Daily Creative Practice
Julia Cameron author of bestselling book The Artist’s Way suggests 3 steps to support your creative journey:
• A) Artists Way Tools (for direction) such as the first 4 Best Creative Self-care Techniques mentioned above.
• B) Artist’s Dates (to access inspiration) – make a date with yourself to create and let the ideas flow. Set time aside.
• C) Walking (integration of ideas with your own creative process). Get outside and switch off.
Whichever creative self-care technique you choose – journalling, drawing painting, colouring, scrapbooking or writing – as a creative tool (A), Julia Cameron recommends you additionally dedicate a set time for creativity (B) and walking (C) each day to get the most satisfying results.
As I mention in ‘Best Creative self-care technique 1. Creative Journalling‘ writing an emotional diary can let your creativity flow without left-brain editing, censorship or analysis. Similarly Julia advocates writing what she calls ‘morning pages’; she describes these as ‘streams of consciousness in long-hand writing’. Her process connects you with your emotions, creativity, inspiration – and a higher power.
Further reading: The Artists Way by Julia Cameron (Pan, 1995).