Tips to optimize your health to achieve creative success.
Many professional creatives fail to reflect on their practice, and yet our process is so important to our success. One reason I embarked on a Masters Degree in Creative Industries with SAE Australia was to better understand my creative process in order to refine and improve it. Within my own process, I noticed a significant correlation between my overall health and wellbeing and my ability to get in creative flow.
Be your own health architect
Two years ago, I returned from Australia following a lengthy stint roaming the world with my kids and decided to live in a tipi for six months in order to slow down the pace of my life and become more in tune with the natural rhythms of nature. I didn’t own any land – I was merely living at a caravan park in northern New South Wales, with a tea tree lake as my front yard, and the beach a short skip away. Free from artificial lighting, excess electrical appliances, household clutter and TV, the kids – who slept in their own two-person dome tent behind my tipi – and I soon fell into the natural rhythm of life, going to bed at 7pm as the sun went down, and rising with the first bird sons before dawn. I made it a habit to practice a daily conscious breathing routine as the sun rose, followed by a crispy morning swim in the lake.
During the days, I was working remotely as usual with camp kitchen, the grass outside my tipi, and local cafes my offices. While my hours of work per day were limited to those which nature intended (I had no power in my tipi to charge my laptop at night), my overall creative output and ability to get into flow while creating each day increased significantly. Moreover, I experienced the greatest joy in my work than ever before. Ideas were flowing like a gushing river.
It became clear to me that optimal health and wellbeing increased my creative output dramatically; it was easier to get in flow and the ideas I was churning out were GOOD. Over the years of bouncing around the world as a digital nomad, maintaining optimal health is not always easy. For busy professional creatives, it can be downright hard. But I have learned a few tricks to maintain my health and wellbeing no matter how busy, pressured, or out-of-balance your creative life seems. Here are a few:
You are what you eat
So cliché right? Well, that’s the beauty! There’s no better trick to maintaining your health then to eat to live. When I am on the road, or living in other people’s spaces, my commitment to nourishing food can easily suffer unless I make it a priority. When filming on location for The Laps Tasmania, finding fresh, locally produced organic produce was not the easiest thing to do. We had no caterers for the film; I was it. Waking up at 5am each day to start directing the shots, producing a four-person, two-cast run-and-gun reality TV show in the rugged wilderness that is the island of Tasmania, driving the crew van for hours each day, and still having to source healthy food for my team and I AND prepare and serve it for everyone was an enormous task! But in ensuring everyone ate fresh, nourishing foods, I knew I would get the best out of myself and my team.
A typical day for me when we are comfortable in one place for a while starts with water. Hydration is EVERYTHING. Lately, I have been filling my reusable glass bottle with organic apple cider vinegar from the health food store Goodies and Grains in the Adelaide Central Markets, and filling my recycled 500ml glass drinking bottle (re-used after purchasing a fresh green juice at the Farmer’s Markets) with water and a dash of ACV. When I am at my in-laws house in France, I will have a dash of lemon with warm water as ACV is harder to source, to try and get an early bowel movement happening before making a fresh cold-pressed juice for breakfast.
For optimal health, I stick closely to these steps when it comes to food:
· Hydrate – drink plenty of filtered water morning, day and night;
· Cold-press juice - at least once per day, following the 70:30 rule of vegetables to fruit;
· On average one main meal per day - usually around 3pm. My go-to recipe book is The Plant Powered Way by Julie Piatt and Rich Roll.
· Plant-based diet – I’ve been vegan for four years and have never looked back!
**Important! GOOD water is everything. I swear by Pristine Hydro Water Systems. Their revolutionary water filters are radically transforming the water industry and people’s health.
Breathe, damn it!
Read my post Magic Breath and How to Use It. Breath is life. Most of us breathe too shallow and don’t even notice it. When you limit the amount of oxygen that can enter your body, you are limiting your ability to truly participate in life itself. Begin each day with 15-20 minutes of conscious breathing. When work is stressful, you’re under the pump, emotions are running wild and you’re feeling it all impact your creative work, take a few moments to place your hand on your belly and do a few rounds of deep breathing to return to the present moment. I’ve taught my kids that life can change in a single breath. It’s true! Each time you return to the breath you give yourself a chance to reset.
Remember the old plasticine cartoon Gumby? If you were born too late, get into some Gumby on YouTube. Stretching is crucial to optimizing health and wellbeing. Stretching gives you the opportunity to renew your body from the cellular level and gain a fresh perspective on life. Stretch at home, at the office, in airports, at the park, on the beach…everywhere you can, as often as you can! When I was living in Bali last year, I was attending yin yoga classes daily and they truly changed my life. I am naturally a yang person, so it has been important for me to incorporate the art of slowing down and balancing my yin in order to balance myself and my creative practice. Especially following a day of enormous creative energy, yin yoga and stretching help me pull it all into focus, and better observe which projects I should pursue, which ones I should shelve, and just generally gain a better perspective of my whatever it is I’m working on.
No tricks here! Every time I hit a creative road block, start to feel my body aching from the computer, or start resenting whatever project I am working on, I get myself outdoors. It could be just a little 10 minute walk into the backyard in France to see what my partner is working on in the garden, or a swim at the beach, a trip to the skate park with my kids, or a walk down to a local cafe. When I was living in the tipi I was outdoors most of the day, which led to huge flows of creativity. Getting among waterfalls and taking day hikes are all on my hit list of great outdoor adventures for when I have more time.
Found a little insight in these tips? These are just a few secrets I employ on a daily basis to optimize my health. If you’d like to take action, or take your creative process to the next level, unblock stuck energy and refine your creative process, schedule a one-on-one creative session with me today.