1. Set a schedule and stick to it the best you can
I know when you have a little one or little ones it can be difficult. I adapted a timing system from a friend called “20:4” (20 min of work; 4 min of mindless meandering online or elsewhere). From it I created the 15:5: 15 minutes work and 5 minutes of play with my daughter(or children) (sometimes I reverse it: 5 min work and 15 min play depending on the need). Lots can be done in small intervals. Showing up EVERYDAY is what is most important. Figure out the time that works best for you.
2. Say NO to ALL thing that threaten your creativity, your work/craft, your self care and your family time
Taking on too much AND taking on things that drain us is something that can wreck havoc on being able to nurture ourselves, our children and our dreams. There have been I have had to say no to that late night movie to finish up on a song or times when I chose to forgo an extra 30 minutes online to take my daughter to the library or park. These are small adjustments (I don’t like the word sacrifice) that have made all the difference in my creative life, my self care and home life. It allows me to make the most of the precious time I have.
3. Eat well (Lots of veggies, fruit and water)
It goes without saying that what we put into our bodies impacts how much energy we have. I have been doing an elimination diet for the past three weeks and my level of energy has increased and my unhealthy cravings (sweets and deep fried foods)have decreased significantly. Eating well is a HUGE key to taking care of myself. Everything I am working to create in my life relies on me being healthy. No better way to begin than to put nutritious things into my body and frankly, there’s no way around it. If I want to feel better, I have to eat the foods that are best for my body.
4. Stay calm and breath when unexpected things come up.
When I am able to get present with what stories I am telling myself about what is happening, wisdom follows and questions like “What lesson is there to learn from this situation?” or “ How can this be done differently?” But if I cannot stop, become present and breathe, then all seems to fall apart. There is nothing like three deep and mindful breaths to center and ground you.
5. Ask for assistance when you need it
Reaching out and asking for assistance can be difficult if you are accustomed to doing lots on your (or feel that way at least). I have learned from bouts of being completely overwhelmed by “Super Mama Syndrome” that by getting in touch with what I need and letting others in my circle know how they can help, I can lighten my load and avoid total burnout.
6. TAKE CARE AND TIME FOR YOURSELF!
This could be an entire book (and there are plenty out there), yet there remains in the collective subconscious, a belief that mothers should spend all their time caring for others and take no time for themselves. If there are people around you who will not support you in caring for yourself, find new people to be around. Hire a babysitter and take a nap, take a walk. Trade childcare with another mama friend. Whatever it is you need to do. No one is served by you falling apart, especially you.
7. Align your Beliefs and Values
As an artist, integrity is often a topic that comes up. I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is a Music Producer. We talked about creating music that sells versus music that is “conscious with a positive message” He expressed guilt for having produced songs that were not contributing in a positive way.
Whatever we create, let it be aligned with our highest values regardless of how much it sells. I know that is better said than done, especially when there are bills to be paid. Ask yourself “What will I be able to tell my children about integrity and self-respect if I release a song or any creation into the world that contributes to the problem rather than the solution?”
8. Network (and Mentorship)
There are tons of articles about asocial media, so I won’t go into it too much here. I will emphasize the importance of mentorship: being mentored by others and mentoring someone else. I find that when I surround myself with people who have more expertise than I, in subjects I’m interested in, I learn so much and am deeply inspired and motivated in my work, knowing I have people I can turn to for counsel. And when I am mentoring someone else, either formally or informally, I am also able to be of service to someone else’s growth in a way that is deeply fulfilling.
9. Know your worth
I recently watched a video by Kate Northup that was deeply education and inspiring. The thing that stood out most for me was her bit about value and our sense of value being connected to our feelings of worth. Even though she’s talking about money (and sharing important stuff), it is important that when we think about our worth and the value we hold, that we think in ways that extend beyond money. More often than not, in our families we will not be “paid” for our contributions– at least not monetarily. When we think about how much we contribute and what our value is to our families specifically, we should be able to live from a place of knowing that we are worth being taken care of (by ourselves and others), we are worth being respected and receiving the best care.
When we know our worth, we will not allow our time and energy be spent on activities, conversations and people that do not contribute to our sense of well-being. When we value our self and know our worth, we expect and require the best of ourselves and others.
10. Stick with it. Live your dreams.
This, above all else is the gold– To keep moving. When you are scared, keep moving. If you slack off, pick that pen, guitar, paint brush back up and keep moving. Your dreams came to you for a reason. You are the only one who can bring them into being.