How to Build a Self-Care Practice as a Strong Foundation for Serving Others

Woman standing with eyes closed meditating

The Russian writer Dostoevsky said, “Beauty will save the world.” How true! As writers, dancers, painters, musicians, etc., you have the amazing ability to change the way people view and experience the world. You can inspire innovation, generate positive energy, heal bodies and minds, and uplift communities.

Many artists, who are naturally intuitive to the world around them, also have the ability, and quite possibly even a sense of responsibility, to use their artistic gifts to bring healing to the world around them. 

Using one’s passion to help others find peace of mind, spiritual awareness, and instill balance can be a difficult task. As artists and healers, your world may end up out of balance which can take its toll. 

As we come out of the craziness that was 2020, and head into the season of love (Valentine’s Day), many are finding an increasing need to implement a self-care routine in their own lives in order to build a strong foundation from which they can also serve others.

What are the essentials of self-care? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Build in Mindful Moments

This advice is actually good for all individuals and definitely good for artists as healers. Slowing down helps you to become aware of what is out of balance and allows you an opportunity to examine ways to get back in balance. 

Giving yourself permission to sit and be present, to ponder the moment without the need to act, gives you time for your body to recalibrate and return to neutral. It allows you to become more aware of what your soul needs so that you can continue to feed the souls of others.

By slowing down you also:

How to consciously slow down:

Don’t be shy about scheduling mindfulness moments. Particularly if you find your day is chock-full of meetings and activities. Build in a couple five-minute moments, put them on the calendar, and use those times to sit still and breathe deeply. Think of the sounds you hear around you, tune in to the energy in the room, etc.

Boost your spiritual practice

Regardless of what your spiritual practice is, it is important to make it a part of your everyday routine in order to stay balanced with your personal life, your artistic practice, and your efforts to help others. 

Spirituality helps individuals:

Spiritual practices to incorporate into your life:

Meditation – There are a number of guided practices on meditation if this is new to you. Meditation induces feelings of calm, allows you to focus better, and gives you the ability to contemplate before reacting to difficult situations. 

Prayer – Like meditations, there are many types and ways to pray. The key is that you are able to share your innermost thoughts, hopes, and fears with the universe, or your higher being. It is proven to provide a sense of comfort, hope, overall well-being which promotes relaxation and peace.

Woman writing in journal

Yoga – It is a physical and mental spiritual practice that helps your body and mind connect and find flexibility and peace. Yoga practice encourages you to link your breathing with movement and to develop a greater sense of connection between the mind and body. It has been proven to reduce stress, decrease depression, lower anxiety, lower blood pressure, and overall, just make your mind and body more flexible and relaxed.

Writing – Writing down your innermost thoughts can be a very spiritual practice that can help you to let go of disappointment, anxiety, fear, pain. It can be a release that allows your body to self-heal. Writing encourages individuals to dispense with the negative to allow the positive room to enter and grow, and can also be a great place to celebrate the things for which you are grateful.

Share your journey

As healers, the burden can get pretty tough to carry, especially if you feel like you are on an island. In order to be able to help people and increase the longevity of your journey as an artistic healer, you have to share the burden and provide others with the opportunity to share their burdens as well.  

Reasons to open your circle:

How to cast a net:

Stay True to Yourself

Easier said than done, isn’t it?  This is a great moment in history for us to scan our behaviors and the activities in which we participate, our friendships and other relationships, etc. and make sure that we are able to be authentically ourselves in all of these places.

It’s very difficult to serve others, when the very situation we find ourselves in is uncomfortable for us.  Take stock of the aspects of your daily, weekly life and determine if there are things you can eliminate or increase, to help you live more authentically in your comfort zone.

When you’ve built in authentic self-care practices, you’ll find you’re on strong footing to help others.  This might mean reaching out through your artistic practice, or simply providing care and service to others through conversation or action. However you serve, having the strong footing will ensure your ongoing success.


The Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts at the UNC School of the Arts provides opportunities for connection and self-discovery to artist-healers through the Creative Catalyst Initiative. Expand your network of artists and healers through the Artivate Summit or explore your artistic goals with the Creative Catalyst Certificate program.

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