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Self-Care Tips & Resources for Artists

Gold and white polka dot notebook or journal sits on a white wooden desk with pencil and small planted succulent. | Jen Theodore / Unsplash
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2020 has proven to be a stressful year for everyone, and each month seems to bring a new set of challenges. Self-care is essential for everyone, but especially for artists. Powered by active imaginations, creatives especially are at risk of being over-stimulated and getting burnt out by the global turmoil that's unfolding daily.

We’ve assembled a resource guide for artists to take care of their bodies, minds, spirits and everything in between in these incredibly challenging times. All resources below are free of charge unless noted.

Body

Exercise

Getting your heart rate up with cardio and resistance training is key to maintaining health in normal times, but even more so when there’s nothing to do but veg at home.

If you’re a member of a gym or want to join one, most if not all are offering online fitness classes that will help you keep a schedule.

Sweatfest w/ Ryan Heffington is a series of hybrid dance and exercise classes that the famed choreographer has been doing on Instagram Live since the start of the shelter-in-place orders. They’ve been hailed for their innovative mixture of cardio, movement therapy and karaoke. They have proven to be addictively cathartic for thousands of people all over the world.

You probably don't know the dancer himself, but you've seen his work. He's been the genius behind the dance featured in Sia's "Chandelier" music video, as well as the architect of the movements at the center of The OA on Netflix. You can catch his classes at 10 a.m PT on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Saturdays at noon PT. Just go to his IG and click on his live broadcast.

Basecamp Santa Monica is offering free classes every day on IG live. Visit their page to see daily and weekly scheduling updates. They are also offering discounts promotions on all of their other packages and services for the rest of the summer.

LIT Method is currently offering one month of completely free classes to new members. The low-impact training method is great for people just beginning their fitness journey, as well as experienced athletes looking to take a gentler approach.

We'd be remiss not to mention the unparalleled access to nature Angelenos have in their backyards.

Here are a few hiking suggestions from SoCal Wanderer. Just remember to hike responsibly and research ahead of time to make sure the park is open.

Old Topanga Fire Lookout
Old Topanga Fire Lookout | Sandi Hemmerlein

Stretch

Whether you’re busy working or just wasting time scrolling Instagram, take frequent breaks — especially to stretch. If you want to formalize the practice with a daily stretching routine, some apps can guide you through movements, increase your flexibility and lower your stress over time.

CorePower Yoga is offering free weekly yoga classes online to all during the coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever, people need stability. This is CorePower’s way of reminding everyone that their yoga practice is always there for them, regardless of what’s happening in the world.

Spenda, known for its unique combination of spinning, weight training, and yoga, offers free, live virtual classes on both IG and Facebook Live. Each day's schedule is posted here, and classes will be broadcast from each studio’s IG or Facebook account.

Fit & Bendy Studio in Glassell Park also offers several online courses and video offerings. Classes are taught by some of the most skilled circus acrobats in the world! First-time students can take a class for only $5 for all of June.

Women in bridge pose | Courtesy of Fit and Bendy Studio
Women in bridge pose | Courtesy of Fit and Bendy Studio

Mind

Declutter & Organize

One of the best things you can do to maintain mental clarity is to clean and declutter the spaces you occupy. When you organize, it can calm your mind by reassuring that things are more under your control — so then you’ll have more energy to invest in creativity.

Once your space is in order, the next thing to focus on is your time.

Todoist is a great app for keeping track of daily tasks and making sure you meet your goals.

Meditate

There is immense power in clearing your mind of all thought. A daily meditation practice can do wonders to alleviate your stress and stabilize your mood — and iconic director David Lynch touts meditation as the gateway to his immense creativity.

Headspace and Calm are two of the most popular meditation apps on the market and can have you getting zen in no time. Both are currently offering free trial periods. 

Spirit

Connect with Your Tribe

Staying connected in the time of social distancing is more important than ever, but can be challenging. Artists are a rare breed and need each other to stay inspired and help remind them of their values and visions.

Tumblr and Pinterest are great ways to find work that resonates with you and start to interact with other artists.

Instagram is one of the best ways to see art design, fashion, architecture, and more.

Facebook Groups are a resource for finding communities that work in the same medium as you, and you can probably find groups specific to artists who live in your city. Start building relationships now, and you can meet when this is all finally over. Even better, Facebook's new Rooms feature allows you to easily video chat with everyone in your network.

Witness & Participate in Art

The Museum of African American Art has created a digital showcase of works from their collection, including the Harlem Renaissance.

Art Share LA’s Home Share series offers a wide array of online showcases, ranging from musical performances to dance to poetry. 

The Hammer Museum’s digital archives have been expanded and opened to the public, providing videos of hundreds of previous exhibitions ranging from fine arts to film showcases.

The Broad From Home is a digital portal allowing people to experience some of the most famous exhibitions on their phones and laptops. This even includes drone footage from inside the renowned infinity room by Yayoi Kusama.


Practice Mindfulness

If you’ve utilized any of the resources listed so far, chances are you’re feeling calmer and more focused in your day-to-day life. Crank it up a notch by practicing mindfulness. As you go on walks, scan your body and become deeply aware of how you feel. As you get used to feeling your presence and the pureness of your being, you can shift your mindful focus to deeply experiencing the outside world.

In addition to increasing your feelings of calm and clarity, awakening your senses and driving your creativity to new heights, mindfulness reduces "cognitive rigidity," according to a study in PLoS One.

Creativity

Develop Rituals

The Artist’s Way is the timeless guide by Julia Cameron for creating structures for creatives to get inspired.

Understandably, you're going to have a lot on your mind right now. The "morning pages" outlined in the book are a great way to get in the habit of committing your thoughts to a page every day, preferably paper, but the word processor on your laptop is fine as well.

“Artist Dates,” as Cameron describes them, is the practice of making time for yourself to do something “enchanting.” This is a great excuse to get out of the house on solo adventures that will provide some much-needed stimulation while shelter-at-home orders are in effect.

Following the advice of “The Artist's Way" can keep the fire of your creativity burning while the winds of the storm that engulf us threaten to blow it out.

Explore

Being an artist means continually growing, and even if your normal life has been put on pause, it's still possible to challenge yourself and grow.

Art Share LA’s Virtual Gallery offers artists of every medium prompts daily, designed to get you inspired and making.

Painted Brain tackles mental health challenges and community trauma by connecting their clients to the practice of art. The organization is currently providing several free resources for creatives, such as wellness guides and webinars about how to stay safe and sane in these challenging times.

Writers Blok LA has moved their operation entirely online, offering writers of all types structure for hour-long sprint sessions. The org is currently offering a 14-day free trial.

Top Image: Gold and white polka dot notebook or journal sits on a white wooden desk with pencil and small planted succulent. | Jen Theodore / Unsplash

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