Personal Development

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Self Care Tips I Use As A New Creative Mom

Self Care Routine

Self care is such a buzz word these days, isn’t it?  I used to be a health coach so I found it was so easy to build self-care into each day because it was just a part of what I did.  I had no problem waking up and meditating, doing some yoga and then blending up a green smoothie for myself.  Boy, how things are different now!

I have always heard how motherhood changes your life but I never realized how it would really impact the day to day practices that I had in place until I became a mother myself. Something as simple as taking a shower in the morning became a major event–and I didn’t always get to it (still don’t some days).  I had been so immersed in making sure my tiny human got everything he needed that I forgot to get what I needed, too.  The thing I’m most amazed about is how long I put off going to the gym.  I used to go to the gym 5 or 6 days a week before Marty was born!  Until recently, it’s literally been years since I’ve been there.  Where did all of my motivation to be super-fit go?

Part of it is time.  And let’s be honest, another part is laziness.  If I have an extra hour, I’m resting or taking a nap, not running to the gym to sweat my butt off.  But as Marty becomes a better sleeper and I get a little more time to myself, I can feel the motivation to implement self care come back into play.  Here are a few ways I’ve climbed out of my self care rut and gotten back on track to feeling good:

  1. Shower and get dressed. This is a non-negotiable because it makes me feel like a real human being that can be ready to work, run errands or get whatever needs to get done around the house.  And for me, taking a shower is more than just getting clean and putting clothes on–it’s also the process of taking some time to care for my skin (hello moisturizer!) and practice some deep breathing in the shower.  It’s a few minutes of peace to enjoy the warmth of the water and quiet space, alone.
  2. Plan out 1 healthy meal to eat during the day.  Due to a hectic schedule I find myself grazing a lot, so I always try to plot out one meal a day that I know will give me some super nutrients and sustaining energy.  I want to enjoy my day without crashes that those quick, easy foods can bring (and that are usually loaded with sugar).  I can  cook a few days worth of quinoa to dump on various veggies or leftovers, and I am prepared in a pinch.
  3. Create a game plan.  I don’t know about you but I’m a crazy list maker.  I mean, I literally make lists about my lists!  So even though it can feel like I’m organized, I tend to always have a bunch of lists and because of that, I’m not sure what I should be doing.  I have recently started to look at my list(s) and pick 3 main tasks that I want to accomplish for the day.  If I get more than that done, great!  If not, then I at least got those 3 things done.  It not only gives me a sense of accomplishment, but it also keeps me mentally moving forward.
  4. Schedule in rest. I know this sounds ridiculous but I’m not talking about a 2 hour nap, I’m talking about 20 minutes to close your eyes and do some belly breathing (or nap!) It’s amazing what a little mid-day recharge can do for one’s mind and spirit.  Also, I feel like whenever I’m tired, it takes me twice as long to get things done.  If I stop and rest, I can get more done later in a shorter period of time!
  5. Plan 2 days to move. I am nowhere near the 5 to 6 days of working out I used to do but I currently have a Sunday morning yoga date built into my schedule that I really look forward to.  The rest of the week I try to stretch 2 mornings and go for a walk 1 other day.  It’s not training of any sort, but it is a beginning to get my body moving again and I know these small steps will build big results.  Patience, grasshopper.

My mantra is: lasting change takes time.  Do I miss the days of my perky butt and that exercise high?  Yes.  But the best way to get back there is to recognize things have changed and to be patient with the process.  I know that I will make my way back, eventually.  I try to give myself some grace when making changes and you should too!  Pick a few things to work on and you’ll be building lasting self-care habits in no time.

Love, Steph

Self Care Tips I Use As A New Creative Mom2019-04-07T11:41:28-04:00

Who’s Your Girl?

I have a series of paintings I like to call ‘the girls’.  Fittingly, they are all of different types of girls, each with a unique background and sentiment.  I remember the first time I painted one–I had been religiously going to my abstract art class on Monday nights and because of that, I had quite a few abstract canvases painted.  But no matter how much time I spent on each one, they always felt unfinished.

One Saturday afternoon I got a drop cloth, all of my art supplies and set up camp in the middle of my living room.  I took one of my abstract backgrounds and started adding a character, that would become the first in the girl’s series.  But right before I started, I had a feeling of excitement and then,  “what if I mess it up?”  Even though I wanted to try something new, I was still having those creative doubts of screwing something up that was just ok.

Then after I started, things just began to flow.  I let go of my expectations and just focused on enjoying the process.  I added collage papers, more paint, stamps and I drew freehand on the canvas–it was so much fun.  When I stopped trying so hard, that’s when things started to come together.

Here is the result of that session, her name is Gracie:

Her heart fluttered

And this is where the girls began.  I have loved creating each one so much!  You can see them all here in my etsy shop.  There are currently a few in progress and I plan to keep making them until it isn’t fun anymore.  All of the sentiments come from gentle sayings my mom used to tell me growing up and they always made me feel better.   I want to share them with others who may need to hear these things, too.

be kind to yourself
Love Who You Are
Be gentle

 

I’ve been posting all of the girls on my social media sites and using the hashtag #whosyourgirl to show everyone the faces and what each girl has to say.  Pop over to Facebook or Instagram and check it out!  And if you choose a favorite, please tag me, I would love to know who your girl is.

Love, Steph

 

Who’s Your Girl?2019-04-04T12:26:13-04:00

The Creative Process: What Works For Me

Want a peek into the creative process I use? Click through to read more--It may help you discover your own.

Does the creative process elude you?  I remember when I started taking my painting class, my teacher spoke about his creative process and how it was an integral part of producing actual work.  Because let’s face it, even when you have the time to sit and get to work, the inspiration isn’t always there.  This is where the creative process can jump start things!  Most days I have to refer to a few tricks to make the most of my time when I’m trying to get in the zone.

It wasn’t so obvious to me what my process was in the beginning, though. I had to almost step back and watch what I did as I did it, to figure out how I created my own inspiring environment.

So if you’re not sure of your own creative ways, don’t worry!  I have a few tips to help you figure it out.  The main idea is to focus on the 5 senses: it will help you be really present in the moment and ready to embrace whatever comes up.

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Here is a peek into my creative process and how I use each of the senses:

Sight: I like to be in an environment with visual stimulation to keep the juices flowing.  This can be sketchbooks I keep open to look at now and again for ideas, previous paintings on the wall or some other artist’s work in Instagram that gives me some ideas to adapt into my own. I usually paint in my studio (which is also a spare bedroom right now) so I like to have a lot of color around me to keep me loose and brave.

Hearing: Music playing helps me get out of my own way. I heard once that when you play music while you are creating, it turns off that left brain so that the ideas flow easier.  That makes so much sense, right? The inner critic is silenced a little easier.

Taste: A drink and a little snack nearby helps me keep going so I’m not interrupted!  I love my snacks 🙂  And no one likes to stop the flow in the middle of a good idea.

Touch: I love to keep my supplies within arm’s reach so I can experiment with different markings and materials.  If I don’t have to dig through clutter or an overwhelming amount of supplies. I create more easily.  (That’s probably true for most of us.)  I have standby favorite supplies. but I also like to keep unlikely tools around to mix things up. (spray bottle, bubble wrap, baby wipes etc)

Smell: I once saw a video of  Flora Bowley where she prepped her canvas with a smudging stick.  She said the smell of the smoke and the energetic clearing of the space helped her get focused.  I love this!  I tend to use a candle, but it has the same effect. Smells can bring up a lot of memories, so I make sure the scent is one I love and has a good association.

Another part of my process includes wearing clothes that are comfortable and messy–ones that I don’t worry about getting paint on.  I also allow a little time before I create something to think about the inspiration behind my session.  Whether it was a song or a poem or a color in nature that I saw that day, I try to hone in on what brought me to my table to create.  Knowing the ‘why’ makes it easier to break through when I hit a block.

I hope this inspires you if you need help figuring out the creative process; using the senses is a great way to start and you can expand on it from there.  Just keep in mind, it’s a fluid practice and it’s always changing!  Go with what moves you forward at the moment and enjoy whatever shows up.

Love, Steph

 

The Creative Process: What Works For Me2018-03-29T20:23:05-04:00

5 Common Mistakes You Are Making In Your Creative Business

Click here to learn 5 common mistakes creative business owners make and what to do about it.

When it comes to figuring out how to run your own creative business there are bound to be many mistakes along the way.  After all, that’s the best way to learn, right? But there are some common mistakes you can avoid, especially if you’re just starting out, that will save you time and frustration.  Here are some common mistakes that happen and what you can do about it:

1. You’re trying to be something you’re not.

Copying is the greatest form of flattery but you have to show others who YOU are in order for them to connect with you. If you’re copying someone else, your true personality won’t come through and you won’t make authentic connections. Don’t worry about being the funniest, smartest or coolest out there–just be yourself, that’s more than enough.

2. You’re not starting at the beginning.

A beginner’s mind is an open mind–there is a lot of fun to be had with a beginner’s mindset. Sure, it can be scary or frustrating or (insert feeling here) when you’re trying to learn something new but it can also be quite freeing to just say, “I don’t know and I want to learn”. It’s a lot easier to be receptive in a place of humility, than from a place of resistance.  And you’ll learn more information faster, from a beginner’s mind.

3. You take on too much too soon.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your business or creative venture. There are a lot of moving parts when you are trying to set up and run a website, profile, blog or online shop. And hell, it can be freaking OVERWHELMING. But you know what? It doesn’t have to happen all at once. Because you have time, even when you think you don’t.  So take it step-by-step and enjoy the process.

4. You’re not connecting.

There’s no escaping the internet + social media and if you don’t jump on the bandwagon, you will be left behind. The good news? There is a place for everyone, so just a little digging on your part will help you decide where you feel most comfortable. Do you love back and forth conversation? Facebook Groups could be your friend. Are you more into looking at pretty pictures?Instagram or Pinterest may be your jam. Whatever your fancy, there is a place for you. Find your spot and dive in.

5. You hesitate to put yourself out there.

I know when I painted my first abstract painting, I was so embarrassed of my beginner skills that I didn’t want to let anybody see it. I literally said to myself, “I’m never showing this to anyone”. It was that bad!

But I put that painting aside and tried again. I stuck with it–I practiced and painted and painted. I kept trying because I really wanted to get better at it. I didn’t give up and I also didn’t let others influence my process too much. I stuck with what my heart was telling me to paint and I eventually figured out my style (and it’s always evolving!)

Then I slowly started showing others. When I started sharing my work, either on social media or in person, I learned so much from what people commented on–and that would have never happened if I didn’t put myself out there.

So there you have it, my friend. Don’t worry too much about getting everything right, especially at the beginning.  Just keep moving towards your goal and make adjustments along the way.  You can do it!

Love, Steph

PS Are you looking to connect with other like-minded creatives? Join my private Facebook Group here.

5 Common Mistakes You Are Making In Your Creative Business2018-03-29T20:23:05-04:00

How I Incorporate Creativity Into Everyday Life

Click through to learn how I keep my creative energy flowing each day. Maybe these will help your creative mojo , too!

I feel like I’m starting to make a comeback. When I had my sweet boy Marty a little over a year ago, my creative projects came to a screeching halt–my blog went unwritten, canvases were dry and emails went unanswered. I went into hibernation because I was alllll baby alllll the time, for a long time (being a first time mom,and all).

Although I was frustrated at some points because I just wanted to get back to creating stuff, I knew that I  needed that time to focus on other things.  And in a way it was a gift: coming out of any kind of hibernation is wonderful because you see with new eyes. That hiatus from creating was rejuvenating because it built up a yearning for me to get back to it. I can feel that urgency to create again and I’m excited.

But as I get back into the flow, I realize that I need to be flexible with how I’m expressing my creativity due to time+ life constraints.  It’s just not realistic for me to say I’m going to paint for 2 hours everyday–I don’t have the time or attention span (or cooperative baby!)  I’m a different person than I was, and my art is changing with me.

So I’m practicing new ways to be creative, and some of it isn’t painting either.  It’s ways to incorporate creativity into everyday life to keep that energy flowing.  Maybe you can try a few of these practices in your day, too:

Try a new medium

I moved from canvas to paper.  It’s a lot more portable and more forgiving too!  I can experiment easier and not worry about messing things up.  Also, it’s easy to pull it out really quick with minimum set-up.   Right now I’m using the Canson Mixed Media Pad (11×14) and I love it.  I’m also having a lot of fun playing on Canva (so much that I created a course on it!)  I create all of my blog images and online profile + post pictures there.

Use different supplies

I’m still using acrylics, but I’m using a lot more paint pens and these watercolor crayons.  The flexibility of these supplies is inspiring!  And it’s challenging to incorporate my usual style with new tools (which is good for me).

Dress with intention

Whenever I go out, I try to put on clothes that I love and that make me feel good.  I’ve been purging a lot of old outfits to make room for more ease.  Lord knows I wear the a lot of the same pieces over and over, but at least I really love them.  And at least I’m not bogged down with the clutter.

Take more pictures

I have a Samsung Galaxy phone and love to take pictures with it because the camera is awesome!  Not only can I use the images for blog post background images, but it creates a photo memory of my days and it’s fun to look back and see what interesting views I’ve captured.

Write Down Thoughts As They Come Up

My memory is short these days so when I think of a clever idea I have to write it down immediately.  And even when it’s not so clever, but I feel like there’s something more to explore, I write that down, too.  It’s along the lines of, “entertaining the muse when she shows up” and not judging my ideas right away.   Otherwise if I don’t write things down,  it escapes into the air never to be remembered again 🙂  These days, I’m loving google keep for this.

Look at art videos

I love looking at Flora’s work, I could watch her all day!  And she always gives me new ideas when I watch her paint.  I also love the artist video posts on Stampington, especially the ones about new supplies.  Painting videos really spark my creativity when I’m feeling a lull.

Connect online

I have a private Facebook Group and the sole intention of it is to create a space to share our creative projects.  It’s fun and low pressure to be a part of and gives just the right amount of inspiration and support.  I love popping in to see what everyone has been up to!  The community is growing, want to join?

So those are just a few ways I keep my creativity flowing everyday. I try to change it up/add new things periodically to keep it fresh and fun. Do you have a daily practice that keeps your creativity flowing?  Come over to the group and tell us about it.

Love, Steph

How I Incorporate Creativity Into Everyday Life2018-03-29T20:23:05-04:00

My Word Of The Year: Self-Care

Click through to see how I'm making my word of the year work for me.

This past year was wild.  It was amazingly beautiful and hard and exhausting and heart bursting and it showed me what it was like to truly care for someone. My baby boy Marty was only a month old when the year began, and oh boy was it an adventure!

I didn’t even make it to creating a word of the year last year because I was so in the weeds. So lost. I was nursing, not sleeping and wondering what I got myself into with a newborn.  After 42 years of doing what I wanted, I was now at the beck and call of a hungry, tiny tyrant.  And most of the time I was totally ok with that, but I will never take sleep for granted again. 🙂

And things changed (as they always do), life was marching on and I wasn’t keeping up with my basic spiritual maintenance.  I didn’t do a very good job of tending to myself + my needs which resulted in some PPD and many tearful days. I put everything I had at the time into my baby and it didn’t leave much for me personally or for my relationship.  I was winning as mommy, failing as Steph.

I realize now that I ignored that age-old saying about putting your life mask on first before you can help others put on theirs. I know that any other mom would say that it’s just how it is in the beginning, you have to lose yourself a bit with the baby for it to work and I agree with that, but at some point there has to be a boomerang back. And I didn’t do that.  Lesson learned.

And so for this reason, my word of the year is self-care.

To me, self care isn’t just about the physical–getting back to the gym or eating more than a PB&J sandwich–it’s also about creating time to do things I love. I know this will be a challenge for me in the beginning but I know when I take more time for myself, I show up for everyone else in such a stronger, more present way.

Navigating being a new parent is a tricky role to get used to: in some ways, it comes so naturally, in other ways I feel like I’m a stranger to myself.  I’m just trying to be patient + compassionate when I think of all of the ways I’m failing. Because in reality, I’m succeeding wildly in many ways, I just need to focus on those areas more.

SO.  These are some of the ways I’m going to express + practice self care:

  • More movies and popcorn.
  • Yoga classes that end with an awesome meditation.
  • Acupuncture that blisses me out.
  • A monthly pedicure (and foot massage!)
  • More pleasure reading and less  TV.
  • Painting, painting and more painting!
  • Conversations that go deep + provoke wild thoughts of expansion.
  • Writing more on the blog and reaching out to connect with others online.
  • Dates with my husband that aren’t always rushed.
  • Juicing more, eating for energy. Less sugar.

That’s just the beginning, but it already feels good just to have said it; I’m excited to get back to being more me.  Farewell 2016, you’ve been quite a learning experience. 2017, let’s see what you’ve got.

Love, Steph

PS Do you have a word of the year, too?  Come join my Facebook Group and tell me what it is.

My Word Of The Year: Self-Care2018-03-29T20:23:05-04:00
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