For a creative ambitious perfectionist, relaxing is much easier said than done. I wanted to take some time to talk about relaxing, and taking time off for creative people, because often we feel like we simply can’t, or don’t deserve it. This probably has something to do with romanticising the idea of a tortured artist, and also something to do with the fact that we actually ENJOY our jobs, so don’t feel we need a day off. I’d argue that this isn’t true.
Why it’s important to relax
I don’t know about you guys, but I beat myself up. A lot. For not waking up early enough, for not preparing enough, for replying too late to an email, for missing a call from my Agent, for eating a piece of bread, for not being ‘successful‘ yet. It’s brutal! I wouldn’t do that to someone else, but somehow, I do it to myself. It’s super unhealthy, but I’m working on it. It’s important to acknowledge your own hard work and to let yourself off the hook every now and then – otherwise, you’ll burn out. If you take some time for yourself every week, to relax and switch off, I guarantee you’ll come back feeling more energised and perhaps even more creative afterwards.
Ways to relax
Weekend? I have no idea what that is. I haven’t had a weekend in years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take time off. You choose what day you want to have off. But make sure you have at least one day off each week. Whether that’s Monday, because you worked in the cafe all weekend, or it’s Wednesday because you need a day in the middle of it all to recuperate. Choose your day, and stick to it.
If you’re like me, hyperactive and need to be doing “something” at all times, then this is the kind of relaxing you need. Active relaxing could be going for a hike, a beach walk, baking a 3-layered birthday cake, mowing the lawn, interior designing your living room, or playing with the dog. Active relaxing is rejuvenating, but also productive. Write down all the things you enjoy doing, which don’t stress you out. I love acting, but sometimes, it’s stressful (mainly because I care about it a lot, and it’s kind of my job). Baking on the other hand is glorious – it’s delicious, and completely stress-free (unless I burn it, which I quite often do…)
If you’re not like me, and can veg out on the couch for hours on end – this is your kind of relaxing. Believe it or not, sitting around and doing nothing is GREAT for your brain. I am going to completely exclude browsing Social Media as a relaxing activity. Sorry, but it’s simply not relaxation. It’s hyper stimulating for the brain, often leaves you feeling less inspired and encourages comparison between yourself, and Jennifer Lawrence. We don’t need this during relaxation time. Relaxation time is for celebrating and accepting who we are, and rewarding ourselves for our hard work. Inactive relaxing can be Meditation (definitely recommend) and it can also be going out for breakfast, flipping through a Magazine, brewing coffee and sitting on the balcony in the sun, or more simply, Netflix. Turn off the brain for a bit, and enjoy the present moment. It’s kind of like pressing a reset button.
This is my favourite version! Just because you’re relaxing, doesn’t mean you can’t be creative… You can take the afternoon and write, read a play (or 3), go see some theatre, go to a film festival, paint, sketch, take a pottery class. You can relax, and be creative at the same time. If you’re someone who feels guilty about sitting on the couch and watching GLOW for 4 hours, but can’t bake for sh%t, then this is the kind of relaxing for you.
I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty hard to relax when my room’s a mess, there’s dishes stacked in the kitchen and my desk is covered in scripts, sticky notes and tea cups. Space is so so so important when it comes to both working, and relaxing. Do you have space in your home where you can be creative and be inspired? For me, it’s the study. I have my desk, I have candles, a cute lamp, a cup of tea and a pin board with notes, quotes and images that inspire me. It’s pretty hard to relax in a messy living room, or a scattered desk. Take some time and make your space work for you. Paint a wall blue, get some indoor plants, create a vision board. Don’t deprive yourself of an inspiring space – you deserve it.
I don’t mind whatever form of relaxing you choose, or where you do it – as long as you do it every week, it’s rejuvenating and it works for you. Enjoy!