Why do arts workers find it so hard to make self-care a priority? Tracy Margieson, Project Manager of Arts Wellbeing Collective and John Paul Fischbach, CEO & Chief Alchemist at Auspicious Arts Incubator examined this question in Creative Victoria’s Creative Exchange event on Thursday 22 February.
The session focused on how to overcome the barriers arts professionals face when trying to find time for self-care. Four common barriers were discussed with suggested tactics to overcome them.
Barrier: The Hamster Wheel
The feeling of not being able to stop, of having to be constantly working and on the go.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a debrief. Take a breath, look at what worked and what didn’t before moving onto the next project.
- Schedule in breaks and stick to them. A meditation break for 90 seconds every 90 minutes is enough to help reset your mind.
Barrier: The Show Must Go On
Feeling like the performance has to go on or the exhibition must open regardless of what’s happening to those involved. This is a common mindset in the arts.
- Make looking after the team and yourself a factor in the success of the project.
- Empower those involved to make decisions that prioritise people’s health and wellbeing.
- Break the rules. Look for ways that will help with the team’s wellbeing before it becomes a problem, even if it goes against the norm.
Barrier: The Rollercoaster Effect
The amazing feeling following a successful project is often coupled with crippling lows. This constant up and down can wreak havoc on one’s mental wellbeing.
- Celebrate the little wins and achievements not just the huge milestones.
- Start a win book. Write down all your wins, big and small. When you’ve had a bad day, flick through your win book to remind yourself.
Barrier: The Dark Side of Passion
Arts workers self-worth is often intrinsically linked to the success or failure of their work, making it more difficult to bounce back when something goes wrong.
- Separate the facts of what happened from the story you’ve created.
- Cultivate the things outside of your work that energise you. That could be your family, friends, your cat, a good book or Netflix.