On the last day of the Con this year, we had a panel discussion called Self Care for Crafters, and I don’t know about y’all, but it was possibly my favorite session of the weekend. Kathy Cano Murillo, Jesi Rodgers, Lesley Ware and Gemma Correll got onstage to discuss taking care of yourself while you’re trying to run a creative business. These are some notes from that session!
Self-care is a buzzword right now, but it’s nothing to roll your eyes at. When your creative business is YOU, you have to take care of yourself. That means getting enough sleep, water, food and movement in your day. It also means being kind to yourself when something goes wrong.
When you’re running a craft business, especially when you’re trying to get up to full speed, you can end up “on the struggle bus,” as Kathy put it. “I should be sprinkling glitter right now!” But learning how to ask for help and taking the day off every Sunday, no matter what, helped her reclaim her time.
Let up the pressure on yourself to finish everything right now, Kathy said. Many of these folks also said cutting back on custom orders helped them tame the crazy. It’s OK to say no! In fact, you should say no sometimes. Trust your intuition.
Make an appointment with yourself once a week to check in and breathe. Someone wants to see you during that time? Sorry, you have an appointment! Create routines for yourself that you honor even in times of stress, like regular bedtimes, creating a to-do list first thing in the morning or taking a walk each day.
Spending time on anything other than your business can make you feel guilty sometimes. It took a while for her to realize that we all “need to enjoy life a little more, and it’s OK to do that,” Gemma said.
Self-care gets easier if you plan and make space for it. Like making one day of your week totally off-limits for work, or keeping a regular appointment with a friend or setting aside a night for a favorite non-monetized craft. Eat breakfast every day — no excuses!
Take the time to make doctors’ appointments you’ve been putting off. Get everything you hate to do out of the way, and you’ll stop dreading it — it’s like magic. Reward yourself with a sticker, just like elementary school. Kathy uses Alexa as her personal assistant; for those moments when she wakes up thinking of something she has to do, she just tells Alexa to add it to her to-do list and goes back to sleep.
Lesley uses fashion as therapy: When she was feeling down, she wore seven days of sparkles, even if she wasn’t leaving the house. Jesi’s biggest tip is turn off notifications on your phone. Let those little distractions waltz on out of your life.
Self-care can also be about treating yourself — Kathy has a housekeeper who comes every two weeks to keep things in order and she subscribes to the Hello Fresh meal delivery service to have healthy food on hand. Lesley books a massage once a month (and I emphatically co-sign this idea).
To get out of your head, calm your nerves and refocus your energy, our panelists recommend the Tranquility du Jour podcast, the Headspace app, the Calm app, The Artist’s Way and Yoga with Adriene. You can find more ideas for self-care amid craft show season here.