Well 2022 feels a little like 2020 on steroids right now. Governments are currently promoting "be prepared" messages with suggestions for what should be in your COVID kit. I'm not going to use this blog as a platform for politics. What I'd like us all to be sharing more of is our learnings from the last two years of being artists and artsworkers so that we can tackle this next phase of the unknown with more confidence.
Over the coming weeks, I will be sharing some different aspects of my learnings that I have put into my COVID Kit/ Resilience Kit/ Risk Management Tool Box. They won't be appropriate solutions for everyone but I hope to encourage conversation and sharing of ideas to help us all get through these challenging times.
As an independent artsworker I am always looking to sure up the next opportunity in order to keep my businesses up and running. When faced with uncertainty, especially for all the face to face project delivery I am currently booked in to do over the coming months, my brain starts racing to work out alternative ways of either delivering the project or finding alternative income sources as these projects will be cancelled or delayed.
Then I caught myself for a moment. This is the mode I got into in 2020 when the pandemic was declared and I got seriously burnt out like many of us in the arts. What did I learn from throwing myself into disaster response mode? Here's what I have in my kit and I'd love to hear what you have in yours!
This week's theme explores self-care and what that means for me in my practice as an artist and artsworker.
I have terrible sleep and work balance at the best of times, but right now, it is something I am working on to ensure my mental and physical health stay in shape. I find it hard to switch off my brain and I find being physically active helps with that. I am physically active with studio renovations right now so that is also contributing to my wellbeing - including the thought I will have a new creative space to play in!
I have also learned that having a routine keeps me focused. Now that I am back into work for the year, I will be in the office during standard hours and scheduling my time to ensure I maintain focus on projects, operational tasks and time on risk management strategies. The latter could tend to take up too much time otherwise which is not the way to balance wellbeing.
I will also be scheduling weekly creative time in my studio. This is not work or project driven time. It is just the play that we often tend to not allow for ourselves when we are stressed.
In these times, it is important to reach out and support our fellow creative industries colleagues but also make sure we don't then take any of their issues on as our own burden. I am totally guilty of this but the last two years have taught me more about being present, providing tools but then not taking those issues with me. There has been some great research recently into artsworker wellbeing. Read about Creating Well here.
So what are your self care measures? Old or newly learned over the last couple of years. I'd love to hear from you!