Nourishment for the soul

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In my current extremely burnt out state, I’ve been contemplating ways to prevent ending up here again, which brought me to ask myself the question – what nourishes my soul?

What makes me feel alive? Happy? Exuberant? What gets me really excited about life? And how can I add more of that to my life? What are ways I can support myself on a daily basis?

I know that one of the things that really helps me is physical movement – Shiva Nata, yoga, walking and dancing. Ideally, I’d like to be opening my day with some Dance of Shiva, and closing my day with some yoga. And maybe a walk in between, to go do some sketching.

This means changing some of my habits. It means getting dressed in the morning so that if I want to go for a walk, I can, without thinking about it. It means always having a sketching bag packed with supplies, so I can go at a moment’s notice.

And if I want to close my working day with yoga, that means I have to stop working. You know, at a reasonable time. Like 5-6pm. Not 9pm. Which that alone is probably going to be incredibly helpful to not burning myself out again. It means my evenings are my time for relaxing, cooking yummy food, and reading. Maybe taking up a hobby. Hanging out with friends, going out for drinks. That kind of thing. Watching movies perhaps? All these things that right now, just kind of get lost in the shuffle. I need to learn to take time off. This frantic running at full speed only leaves me (and my body) miserable.

I also love to draw, something else that’s fallen by the wayside lately. I love sitting outside and drawing things. Or even sitting at my dining room table and copying page upon page of anatomy drawings. I really love doing that. It’s incredibly peaceful. I feel really good after a day of doing that.

I would love to do life drawing again, and there is a group in another city, which I’ve been told I can attend and even offered a carpool. For some reason, I keep finding reasons not to spend that $10 a week on something I know would be good for me. (More about this in a later post – I think I’ve found my solution.)

And dancing – oh my gosh, I love to dance. As some of you know, I was a classically trained ballet dancer in my youth and after being diagnosed with CFS, had to give it up. I’ve missed it ever since, but recently, I just couldn’t bear it anymore and have been spending my nights watching Dirty Dancing. So tonight, I start ballroom dancing classes with a friend! Wheeee!

I’m so excited, it’s embarrassing. I’ve always wanted to learn how to ballroom dance, and never really had the chance. Now there are lessons being held just down the street, and I’ve got a friend who loves to dance too, so I’ve really run out of excuses. I bit the bullet and emailed the teacher and she invited us to tonight’s class, to see if we like it.

I cannot wait! 😀

I’m also planning some anti-burnout trips this week – wanderings in art galleries, libraries and bookstores. Last night I went to see the Ballet Jorgen production of Cinderella, which I loved. They’re one of my favourite ballet companies and I never expected them to come to Prince Edward Island. This is all contributing to me starting to feel a helluva lot better and a lot less like bursting into tears at any given moment.

And starting tomorrow I’ll be easing myself back into work. Instead of trying to finish the oil paintings I have on the go, I’m going to do the underpaintings for the other 4 – big brushwork, focusing on patterns and values and composition and nothing finicky, stressful and detailed. It’ll help me get started on the right foot.

I’m always looking for other ways to prevent and heal burn out, so I turn it over to you – what do you do to nourish your soul?