What’s in your Creative Wellness Toolbox?

Published by Nela Dunato on at 06:28 in Tips for creatives, Sketchbook, Personal, Inspiration

Artists are intimately familiar with our physical tools. Pen & paper, a box of paints, electronic devices and software, a musical instrument... We use those tools daily in our creative work.

But today, I’m talking about a different type of toolbox. The toolbox you need to keep yourself in optimal mental and emotional shape to be able to create not just any kind of work, but your best work.

I occasionally have periods in life when I struggle doing my creative work, and neglect my personal creative practice. After a while, I remember that I have the tools to turn it around. As I begin to use them regularly, surprise, surprise—it works. I’m no longer feeling burnt out or depressed, and I’m ready to catch up on work I’ve been neglecting for months.

It’s hard to think of things that can help you while you’re feeling low. When we’re down, things look bleak and meaningless, and like there’s no point in even trying. That’s why it’s important to prepare yourself for these moments of gloom while you have a clearer view of your life and the true purpose of your creative work.

For this purpose, I’ve designed my toolbox as an illustrated mind map in my sketchbook.

My Creative Wellness Toolbox

What’s in your Creative Wellness Toolbox?

I divided my mind map into 5 main areas, but it doesn’t have to be as organized if that’s not your thing.

Here are some other ways you can create your toolbox:

  • In her book “The Creative Entrepreneur”, Lisa Sonora suggests making inspirational cards with ideas on what to do when you need a boost, and keep them in a box.
  • Collage photos or illustrations representing activities that feed your creativity and keep it on your studio wall.
  • Assemble a “first aid kit” box with messages of encouragement—a letter to yourself, reminders of past success, thank you notes from your fans and clients...
  • Keep a checklist of nourishing activities on your phone and put a daily reminder (use an app like Google Keep, Todoist, or Evernote).

Your creative toolbox can look like anything you want—just make sure you keep it within reach, so you don't forget you have one.

If you need suggestions for self-help tools to include, or more information on some that I've mentioned above, check out my post The kooky stuff I do to feel better when everything sucks.

What nourishes you and helps you overcome your creative slumps?

Share your favorite tools in the comments!

Then, take this a step further and use your creativity to craft your wellness toolbox today.

Nela

* Some links in this post point to products (for example, on Amazon). If you buy any of them, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). I only recommend products I have personally tested and loved.


Nela Dunato

About Nela Dunato

I run a boutique design consultancy that helps creative businesses evolve into premium brands and connect with their dream clients, by crafting extraordinary visual experiences.

On this blog I write about art, design, creativity, business, productivity and marketing, and share my creative process and tips. Read more about me...



Your comments

  • Honorata

    Honorata
    2017-04-21 at 11:35

    That post just came in time for me...6 weeks now of creative block, creating just for the sake of keeping myself alive...I know that my creative self-care been not great but I suppose this because I did not give it the priority. Why do we care about everything from family to our bodies but forget creativity????

  • Nela

    Nela
    2017-04-21 at 13:11

    That's a million dollar question, Honorata!

    For me, it's difficult to justify the "usefulness" of personal creative practice. Even though I have proof that everything is better when I tend to my creative needs first, I'm still fighting the upbringing of my workaholic family. That's how I got sucked into the whole art-for-money and lost course for a few years.

    I hope your block clears easily and swiftly!
    I find that doing something completely different, trying out a new medium, following my curiosity tends to do the trick.

  • Honorata

    Honorata
    2017-04-24 at 20:53

    Thank you for your response. I get stuck in my family stupid concept "cleaning the house, cooking, all about look perfect in case somebody comes for coffee"-that is my upbringing that I have to fight ehhhh. My house is far away from perfect but voice of my mother in my head still very loud! I decided to go back to my daily interaction with expressive/healing art journal. That helps a lot!

  • Nela

    Nela
    2017-04-26 at 13:07

    Thank you for the conversation :)
    Oh yeah, I feel that too...
    Luckily I rebelled against cleaning the house very early lol :)) so my obsession went more into "gotta earn money, gotta be independent". Just a few weeks back I talked openly with my mother for the first time in years, she reflected back that same sentence to me, and I thought "Ohhhh, so that's where it's coming from. Interesting."
    I'm glad you've found a way that helps you shed the self-critical voices.

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