I am going to talk about three important Rs for the month of August, and they are: to recharge yourself, to relax, and to reflect. This time of year is a perfect time of the year for that because, for many of you, and I include myself in this, I feel like September is the beginning of the new year. If you work in the performing arts, it's the new season starting. If you have anyone in school or you teach, it's the school year starting.
So August is the time right before we start again for a new season, for a new treadmill, or for a new adventure. And for creative folks, it's a time that I'm going to encourage you to take a moment to build up some routines and some systems that are going to help you recharge throughout the year. I understand that most people, a lot of people, in the arts are working all the time. We really don't have seasons. People are gearing up or preparing or auditioning and doing everything else. But in these 90-degree days and in this season of sun and long days, I'd love to encourage you to take some time for yourself.
This week I'm gonna talk about morning routines. Now, morning routines can be done any time of the day, but I'm going to also talk about why I think that morning routines done in the morning provide you with a suit of armor for the day in many ways.
I was recently on Instagram and Marie Forleo posted that she suggests the same three things I do every day. And she also mentioned that these three things done before you turn on the news, before you get on email and start to work, are a great way to gird your loins for the day, to get ready, to be in a really good state in order to do what you need to do.
Even though we love what we're doing, it takes energy and it takes thought, and sometimes we lose ourselves or we think we have to keep pushing forward or we've bought into this hustle mentality that doesn't serve the artistic soul well. It doesn't serve the creative process well because you need to recharge yourself, you need to relax and refresh yourself, and you need to reflect on your process and your journey. So the three things that I do in the morning that I am offering as a suggestion as part of the routine, is to meditate first. I don't know that I resisted meditation, but I didn't do it consistently for a very long time, and in recent months, I have started to add it to my routine. I do two types of meditation. I use the Calm app, which is, I think, free. I have a paid version so I have more, but it's a 10-minute a day meditation that is actually kind of a guided meditation. So it's not dead silence. She speaks to you. She gives you something to think about, reminds you to breathe and check in with yourself and everything else, and it's 10 minutes. I've also added kundalini yoga meditation to my routine recently and I find that's been helping tremendously with energy and with focus and attention, and I'm planning on pursuing that more. That's new to me, but I'm finding it incredibly helpful. So I meditate.
Then I do a thought download on pen and paper. I use fountain pens because I love the sound and I love the feel on paper, but you can use whatever you want. I do suggest writing on paper. I use composition books. I've talked about that before, because sometimes, with fancy journals, I feel like I'm wasting it if I'm just sort of doing a brain-dump. But brain-dumps are what I'm recommending here so that you spend time. And you can do, Julia Cameron, in The Artists's Way, suggests three pages of morning papers. But I find that hard sometimes to do and I'm a writer. That unfocused three pages, I don't know if I'm not giving myself the gift of the time to think about it or my brain just can't engage with it, whatever. I'm working towards it. So if I can do one page I'm happy. Whatever you can do.
This thought download isn't have to be focused on any particular thing. It's just getting what's in your brain out so that you can sort of start the day cleanly and with renewed focus. I do have a friend, Jess Lourey, who is a wonderful writer and has written a book, Rewrite Your Life, about using that morning page routine to focus on creative work and how that can be healing unto itself. And so I will post that because I think there are many ways of doing it and there are many things you can reflect on and write on, and I don't want to limit you at all. You can also draw whatever you're doing. But it's just a thought download. It's a brain-dump of stuff. Get the stuff out of your brain before you start the day.
And the third thing that I have added to my routine on a regular basis is movement. Now, I am not a natural exerciser, and I have often, most of my life, equated exercise with losing weight, and I've disassociated those two things. I'm still working on losing weight, but I want exercise to be unto itself. What I have found is a half-hour of movement has helped tremendously with stress levels for me and giving me more energy throughout the day. Some folks can find that too much to do, but I have found it very helpful. When you are doing that half-hour of movement, I'm also going to encourage one more thing. That it should be fun. I often, for most of my life, thought of exercise as medicinal and I didn't find it fun. And now I'm doing dance workouts and different things like that. I'm not a good dancer, but I have fun. Sometimes I think my cats fear for their lives as I'm trying to grapevine across the living room floor. But they're getting me moving, they're getting my heart rate up, and they're making me smile and I feel better. It's helping with stress. So it's tremendously helpful.
So my morning routine, again, is meditation, journaling, and then that movement for a half-hour. And then, after I've done those three things, I get ready for the day. I check my emails or I turn on the news, although I have delayed that during the day as well lately to try and give myself some grace before I face the day. We're living in difficult times and we, as creative folks, and with the empathy levels that we have built-in because we are creative and because we open ourselves up to being creative and to the muses and to the energy fields of the world, that empathy can be draining and can be really difficult.
And so these three things can help you take care of yourself, and that's what I want to talk about a lot this month, this month of August, is how can you take care of yourself so you can continue to do your work, which is so important? I talk about this a lot, but the work of artists is what we need. It changes the energy fields of the world. It changes the way we look at things. It changes the world itself. And now, more than ever, we need that energy and we need your work. But you need to take care of yourself in order to put that work out there. I don't take lightly how much energy and how much work it takes to do what you do, and I so appreciate that you do it and that you're willing to give that to the universe, but let's spend some time thinking about how to take care of yourself as you're doing that work. So those three things I have found to be tremendously helpful in refocusing and sort of reinvigorating myself as an artist and as a businesswoman and as a person. I think they've made me more focused, have better energy, and also nicer to be around. And so I offer those up as tools. Again, I'll put links to things in the show notes so that you'll know what I'm talking about and you can look at other resources. But let me know how it goes if you give these things a try for a week.
Now, they'll say 21 days makes a habit. I'm finding that it's more like 40 days makes a habit, and that's a long time. That's over a month. But if you start today, then it's incremental steps. Everything is incremental steps. We keep, I know I do this, I want to leap forward to where I'm 30 pounds lighter and all rested. But it's the incremental steps that get you there, but the journey has got to be full of joy, and the only way the journey's gonna be full of joy is if you're rested, you're recharged, and you're reflective on it.
So use these three tools to help. Take care of yourself.
I'm doing a FREE online workshop about goal setting for artists on August 21 at 7pm ET. Sign up here to join me live, or to watch the replay!