I’m just going to start off by saying something unpopular: the world glamorizes busy. I have seen many a colleague play the martyr and work the extra hours, skip the doctor’s appointment, and refuse to eat lunch because they can’t take ten minutes to themselves. And though we all go through busy times in our work life, I can’t help but feel that oftentimes work overtakes our pursuit of mental health and self care. I won’t say I’m an expert, but I know when to tell my Outlook inbox that we’re done for the day. Here are some of my personal favorite ways to stay healthy while keeping creative:
Create something for YOURSELF
“But I spend all day doing work for clients!” Yep, clients consume most of our time and energy. And I bet there’s a tiny part of you that’s a little irked by that. When is the last time you made something 100% for yourself? If you can’t remember, take the time to make something imperfect, selfish, and just for fun.
Put the phone down
Knowing when to stop checking your emails is a huge conundrum for us all. There are the occasional emergencies that merit sending messages after hours, but most nights, you should be able to spend a chunk of time without your phone. I love bubble baths, rock climbing, or dinner plans with friends/my husband because I strictly enforce a no-phone policy during each of those activities. If my phone is stowed away in a different room, locker, or purse, I’m more likely to focus on what’s in front of me and get some space away from work.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries
Whether it’s a manager who asks for too much or a friend who is toxic after office hours, nothing will save your sanity more than knowing when to say no. Seeing as this is often hard to do in the workplace, how you spend your precious free time after 5 o'clock hits is crucial. I’m an introvert, so I am a certified expert in turning down plans and preserving my sacred home alone time with my cats. Boundaries vary based on what you’re comfortable with, so take the time to assess your personal and professional life to decide where to draw the lines.
Creative growth and mental health are both continuous life-long journeys, and are very much intertwined. If we aspire to develop creatively, we must also work towards a holistically healthy and happy life.