Here is my best advice and my personal strategies for keeping everything balanced:
1. Connect to your why
It is a privilege to get to choose what we struggle for, and I like to remind myself of why I choose the work that I do. No matter what your challenges are, reminding yourself of your values and why you’ve chosen the work or project you have can bring an instant perspective shift, help to align your energy, and connect you to a feeling of purpose. Even if you don’t enjoy the work that you do, it may allow you to work towards a goal or have the time and resources to pursue other things that bring you a sense of joy and meaning in your life.
2. Plan time for joy + play
Especially for creatives, this is essential. Scheduling time for something that brings you joy or being creative simply for the sake of being not only affirms your inherent value but may spark inspiration and reenergize you. This is one of the most difficult tasks for me, simply allowing myself to be. Painting, cooking, or listening to music without stopping to do a task or make notes for something later is a struggle. For so many of us, staying busy is a comfort because it allows us to feel worthy. The truth is that we are already worthy and affirming this is a way to build self-confidence and raise energy levels.
3. Check in with your body + breath
Sit for a moment and put your hand over your heart. Feel your breath flow in and out and as you do this ask your body what is needs. Perhaps it’s a walk, a snack, some rest, connection with a friend, moving to music, or screaming into a pillow to release emotions. Part of ongoing healing work is checking in an honoring ourselves and one of the greatest indicators of our emotional needs is our body.
4. Check your boundaries
If you’re feeling stretched energetically ask yourself: are there obligations you can let go of? None of us like to disappoint others or say no to something after we’ve said yes. Giving yourself permission to change your mind, cancel something that feels draining, and regroup can do wonders for your mental health. Remember you are already worthy of love and care and giving yourself rest is meeting a basic need. This is often easier said than done and I often fall into the old habit of giving myself rest only after I’ve accomplished something. Making rest a priority is a life affirming practice that takes time to build but will ultimately serve you. If this feels difficult in the beginning you can remind yourself that resting actually makes you are far more productive person, as well as improves your ability to learn.
5. Stay grounded + present
Why does everyone keep talking about mindfulness? Because it works. Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.Most of our anxiety comes from ruminating on the past or worrying over the future. Mindfulness is a practice of being present in the moment. When I open my eyes at 3 am feeling anxious, it’s not because I’m in immediate danger. My mind is simply doing what is does to feel comfortable and in control and compiling lists of possible problems or outcomes I “need” to prepare for. Retraining the mind takes ongoing practice but it can be done. Our brains can be rewired through positive thoughts and affirmation, and they can also be conditioned to stay in the present moment. Staying grounded and connected to the time and space that we are in can help immensely with this process. Simply noticing your surroundings, placing your hand over your heart, and affirming to yourself that you are present can be instantly grounding.