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2nd Fireside Chat: Self Care as a Visual Practitioner

At our second IFVP Fireside Chat, we had a wonderful conversation with our guests Nevada Lane and Jenny Trautman - as well as several members of the IFVP community. Why self-care? Because you've been there..haven't you?! Long coffee-fueled nights writing statements of work. Alarm clocks that buzz at 3 am, so you make the cross-country flight. 10-hour days on your feet, after which you're too exhausted to even say, "exercise". An aching necks and a sore lower backs!

To be our bests selves and do our best work, we need to make self-care a priority. Here are the highlights from our Fireside Chat

What does self-care really mean?

“Self Care is being able to touch the bottom, and see that it’s firm. It’s about setting up routines and habits I can always come back to. If there's one things you can do for your self care, it's setting up a consisten routine to fall back on"  - Jenny Trautman

"Self care is about energy. It's about desiging a life and setting boundaries that preserves and grows positve energy on a consistent basis. Listen to your body - pay attention to what you feel - then fine tune your life accordingly" - Nevada Lane

Insight: If you don't have 30 minutes, do 5 minutes. Something is always better than nothing. It tells your mind and body, "I care about you".

We also shared self-care best practices:

Movement and exercise:

"Movement is good. Movement with someone is better. Move with someone you love - that’s the icing on the cake” - Brandon Black"

  • Strength training is one of the best things you can do for your body s a visual practitioner. Develop those back, shoulder and neck muscles!

  • Be intentional about exercise. When you travel, plan for it. Try to get in a 30 mins sweat session before you work. 

  • Good posture is critical: pay attention to it.

  • Dancing is also great for rejuvenation -  "When I’m the most exhausted, I make myself dance, even for a few minutes -  and it totally re-lifts my energy".

Body care: 

  • Get support. Build a team of physical therapists, chiropractors, and other body workers who can help you by creating a plan customized to meet your needs.

  • Be proactive about recovery. Schedule a massage on days you know will be tiring (e.g. whiteboard animation video shoots, long stretches of graphic recording)

  • Be aware of the long-term risks and get ahead of them - frozen shoulder, back and neck injuries, aching knees!

Travel best practices: 

  • At an airport? Ditch the train and walk between terminals. Wearing comfortable shoes helps you get those steps in.

  • Travel with a Trtl pillow.

  • Choose your lodging intentionally. Choose a hotel with a pool, hotel gym, or with easy access to your favorite exercise studio. Choose an Airbnb with a kitchen for longer stays so you can fix healthier meals.

  • Develop an in-room exercise routine (floor exercises, HIIT, yoga etc.) that you can do consistently.

  • Find ways to make the hotel feel like home!

"I also bring a small kit of essential oils everywhere I go. good for relieving pain, stress, headaches, and also just for making the hotel room smell more like home"Emily Jane Steinberg 

Fueling with the right nutrition:

"I quit the terrible conferece food rut - coffee and sugar durng the day, and wine at night" - Nevada Lane

  • Quit sugar!

"...or be more mindful of how you consume sugar. Here are two questions offered by my favorite blogger Dary Rose. "Is it worth it?" and, "What's the minimum effective dose that I need to feel satisfied?" - Nitya Wakhlu

  • Focus on eating protein and vegetables - don’t feel shy about talking multiple sandwiches, eating the protein and removing the bread!

  • Control breakfast. Breakfast is often the one meal that we can fully control. Ditch the client pastry buffet and order room service. Load up on Breakfasts: eggs, fruit or oatmeal.

  • Bring your own snacks! Raw almonds, non-sugary bars, protein shakes. Here are some recommended brands:

  • Be intentional about drinking water through the day. Also, avoid Dasani like the plague! It makes you way too thirsty.

  • Plan ahead: "I also travel with Tupperware or tiffins. Another good trick for multi-day gigs is this: I intentionally OVER ORDER at dinners out, then bring the leftovers to ensure that I have a decent lunch option for the next day."

Business Model Design:

  • Be very intentional about what you say yes to.

    • “I’m pretty picky about what I travel for. I'm nurturing more local clients"
    • "Be very clear - What is your purpose? What makes your eyes shine? What is it that you can uniquely do? What kinds of clients do you want to work for? Say "no" to everything else"

    • "In saying "no" to jobs - I've found it's good for me to keep in mind that there's a limit to the value I can deliver to clients if I'm overbooked or stressed. I know this monthly revenue number - and when I cross it, I would rather outsource the work to associates"

    • "When there's a proposal for new work on the table, Say, Hell Yeah - or no!"

"It's scary to say no, but I believe that when you do it with intention, the Universe provides" - Nevada Lane

  • Don’t go at it just by yourself. Build a professional community you can fall back on. Connect with associates, bring in administrative help - find people who have your back.

"...I realized, after my injury, that I didn't want to do it alone. I've built a team I can depend on. Surround yourself with colleagues, clients and friends that you enjoy - and are suportive of you." - Jenny Trautman

Dealing with overwhelming and anxiety:

  • Ditch the fear of looking bad.  Shift your energy from: "How will I look?" to "How might I be of best service?"

"If you're a visual practitoner, run to your nearest Improv training, and sign up now. It's the best tool I've found to develop the right mindset" - Nitya Wakhlu

  • Tell yourself: "I can do this...I’ve done this before. EVerything will be okay."

  • Use the mantra: "Joyful Action Now"! Action often relieves anxiety.

  • Refer to the work of Byron Katie: "What are the stories I’m telling myself? Is this story really true?"

Mental health tools:

  • Adopt a practice of meditation. Some resources to explore are:

    • Guided meditations - apps like Headspace and Oak.

    • Insight Timer is a fabulous app.

  • Use daily affirmations. Check out Healthy Journeys

We hope you found this Fireside chat helpful. So, what's one self-care action you commit to talking today?