Tuesday, March 11, 2008

staying sane

People always ask me how I work full-time earning a living as an artist and remain such a happy, healthy, balanced and sane person. Actually, nobody asks me that. But in my world, staying sane is a part-time job, and by that I mean I probably spend 20 hours a week working on not losing my mind.

During the first part of my art career, I worked part-time for other artists and full-time for myself, which meant I was working almost all of the time. Basically, anything that got in between me and my wheel was a major annoyance and something to be dealt with and put aside as quickly as possible. This included eating meals, bathing, time with my husband, and going on vacation. I was always stressed out because, dammit, life kept getting in my way when all I wanted to do was make some fuckin' pots!

I'm not sure when that changed. I think when I was in persistent physical pain from all my labor that I had to seek out a physical therapist to set it all right. Maybe it was around that time that I realized I wasn't taking very good care of myself, and it showed. It was so typical for me to run home at lunch, stuff a burrito down my gullet in like, 4 minutes, and then run back to the studio. At some point I'd be thinking, "Why does my stomach hurt?" I was also tired of being in a constant state of impatience to be in my studio when I was doing things outside my studio, like driving to the bank, a task I would put off until the whole mess was about to melt down. Here I was, living the dream, and always irritable.

This is how I take care of myself now, and I'm putting it out there for everyone to think about what they are doing to take care of themselves. It's not that interesting or magical, but here it is:
1) I stick to a regular routine of work. I'm a morning person, so I get up and go. I don't work evenings and I usually don't work in the studio for more than 6 hours a day.
2) I spend a minimum of 3 hours a week at my gym getting all sweaty, and I spend another one or two hours using their hot tub and steam room. I also go to my yoga studio at least once or twice a week.
3) I take time off regularly to get out of town and I don't waste time feeling guilty about it.
4) I borrow other people's kids instead of having my own (see picture above).
5) I battle impatience and anxiety with breathing exercises and meditation. And when I catch myself talking to myself in a nasty way, I ask myself if I would talk to my best friend that way.