Last week, one of my 10 year old cats, Martin, had to be put to sleep after suddenly collapsing. This might not seem like a major life event for some of you, but it was for me. After sharing my life with this odd little soul for 10 years it was devastating for him to no longer be a part of it, especially when it happened so abruptly.
Martin was a a quiet, thoughtful cat. He often seemed deep in contemplation and seemed to consider people interrupting him hugely offensive. He hated getting his paws wet or dirty, hid from most visitors to the house and informed me of a lack of drinking water by sitting with his front paws in the dry bowl, wearing a look of disappointment on his face. He was caring to his brother, even though Aston obviously annoyed him at times. And the only times he would sit on my lap were when he knew I needed comforting.
Self care has become a popular term lately and I’m not normally one for jumping on the bandwagon, nor for over sharing personal stuff. But, when life seems to de-rail, you have to do what keeps you going, by taking care of yourself in whatever way you need to. For me, the two things that normally help are creating and getting out into the countryside. Creating and walking both serve as forms of meditation I suppose, they take me out of myself and whatever stresses are consuming me.
So, I tried to crochet, to make jewellery, but I had zero concentration and enthusiasm for either. Instead, I grabbed my camera and set of to a country park on the outskirts of Nottingham. Its a quiet park, with few amenities that covers 650 acres of former mining land and woodland that once marked the southern edge of Sherwood Forest.
I like the peace. It feels a world away from the city that in reality is so close by. The open spaces allow me to breathe and the woodland feels comforting. Stopping to take photographs focuses my attention away from my problems. How can things be bad when I’m looking at beautiful trees, wildlife and plants? My brain seems to switch off when I walk; just putting one foot in front of the other seems soothing.
After two hours of meandering, my thoughts had quietened. Allowing myself this time is my form of creative self care. Now, a few day later, my creativity is slowly returning. I crocheted and even started a new sketchbook and did a couple of quick drawings. But i’m not pushing it; creativity never comes if I try too hard. I’m just going at my own pace.
I would love to know what forms of creative self care you practice, so feel free to comment below or message me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. And if you don’t want to miss out on any future posts, I’d love for you to sign up to my monthly email!