Kazad, Self Portrait. One apparent sign of stress in the inability to organize and maintain a clean environment Photo Kazad/ Artcentron
BALTIMORE, MD —With the fixing of Healthcare.gov, there is great hope that many young artists will now be able to get affordable health insurance. A major aspect of the Affordable Care Act, also known as the Obamacare, that will benefit many young artists, as well as older ones, is preventive care. Under the Affordable care Act, young artists are entitled to preventive care no matter what plan they chose. The preventive care aspect of the Affordable Care Act provide opportunities for young artists to get counseling on many physical and mental issues, including obesity, smoking, substance abuse and many others. While the preventive care and other aspect of Obamacare are very important, artists also have the responsibility of taking good care of themselves. Stress is one issue that often lead to greater medical problems for young artists. Doctors and researchers have shown some association between stress and other major illnesses like diabetes, obesity, and even heart attack.
Artists are perhaps one the most stressed out people on earth. Painters, sculptors, ceramists, graphic designers and many others in the creative filed often get trapped in the need to meet deadlines, forgetting that there is another aspect to life. The result is often stress, which can lead to other major medical problems. Several weeks ago I went on a studio visit with a young artist. I continue to be shocked by the experience. As I stepped into the dingy studio, cigarette smoke filled the air and junk food littered the floor. In a corner, in front of several large canvases, were crushed cans of energy drink. Just in the center of all the mess was the artist furiously painting on a newly stretched canvas. “I have an exhibition coming up soon,” he said as I walked into the studio that had an atrocious smell. Even the artists knew he was under great stress. Sadly, he was unable to stop working for the simple reason that he did not want to miss his deadline and the opportunity before him. While this is just one example, anyone who has had close relation with visual arts professionals know this is not an exception. Many young artists often wait till the last minute to complete or prepare for a project. The rush often leads to a lot of stress. Stress, doctors and scientists have noted, is a precursor to dangerous medical conditions, therefore, artists, young and old must do everything to relieve or prevent stress. How to relieve stress? There are many ways to reduce stress and these are just a few.
1. Organize Your Life
The inability to adequately organize and plan our time is one of the major sources of stress. From hanging out with friends on social media, to engaging with family and co-workers, precious times can be wasted if not adequately managed. While friends and families are very important, it is fundamental to plan and allocate specific time for essential activities that will energize you and facilitate the fulfillment of our objectives. Young artists must endeavor to limit non-beneficial and non-supportive interactions. It is a fact that because there are so many things to do and little time to them, many young artists become overwhelmed and just leave things to chance. Many fail to plan and effectively organize their lives. The consequences are that many things are left to the last minute, causing a lot of stress. Young artists can save themselves a lot of stress by planning their time well. One way to achieve this is to make a list of objectives and crossing out each one once they have been achieved. Having and using the calendar can also be effective. Besides the physical calendar that many people use, there are also android and iphone apps specifically designed to help keep track of daily activities. It is very essential to keep track of time and daily activities because it is a smart way to have peace of mind and also reduce stress.
2. Time management
Time management is an important way to relive or avoid stress. It is important not to procrastinate: when you have work to do, go ahead and do it and don’t wait until the last minute. When you can adequately plan your time, you will better avoid the stress of rushing or forgetting.
3. Don’t Bite More Than You Can Chew
Very often, many young artists take more projects that they can handle. The result is an unfathomable stress as they painfully struggle to finish one project over another. As a young artist, you must know when to say no to projects that are out of your scope even when the financial reward is tempting. If, however, you are unable to complete a project because you have other important things to do, please don’t beat yourself up. Celebrate the ones you were able to complete, and do your best to complete the ones pending. It is also okay to ask for an extension whenever you cannot finish a project. Most collectors will grant you that extension as long as it will benefit them and the project. If there is no room for an extension, however, you can collaborate, partner with or hire people you trust to help you. That is what many great artists do. From Andy Warhol to Jeff Koons, famous artists run their studios with a lot of help from artists and craft people they trust.
4. Limit Internet and Cell Phone Use.
It is very difficult for many young artists to turn away from the internet and also put their phone down. The inability to disconnect from all these modern day technology can lead to a lot of stress. In this era of Facebook, Instalgram, Tumblr, Twitter, and Google Plus, young people have become so addicted to the internet that psychologists are now finding new ways to deal with this new form of addiction. While social media is beneficial if used appropriately and sparingly to achieve career and social objective, it can also be a black hole, sucking up time and productivity. Young artists like many other young people must find new ways to deal with internet and phone addiction. Cutting down on internet and phone use allows the opportunity to live in the moment, and also have adequate sleep, it is important to cut off all electronics use before sleep as a way of curbing insomnia and other related problems.
In spite of effort to avoid stress, it is sometimes impossible for young artists to avoid stress. Massage is one of the well-known ways to reduce stress. For thousands of years, massage has been used by the Chinese to improve health and Hippocrates. The tradition has continued to this day not only in china but across the globe. Massage, according to many practitioners, helps open up blocked energy. In today’s society, massage has become a significant way to relax, reduce pain, improve blood circulation and also maintain good health.
6. Eating Healthy
It is no more a secret that many young people do not eat healthy food. Due to time and inadequate planning, many young artists eat junk for food. Junk food, studies have shown, can lead to obesity, which can in turn lead to other diseases like diabetes, heart attack and even death. A poor diet can cause stress because the body in getting the necessary nourishment. Eating good food, especially balanced diet, will not only boost energy, enhance physical and emotional wellness but also prepare the artists for everyday activities. Food rich in vitamin B should be a daily necessity for any young artists because they enhance the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. Additionally, good food helps induce relaxation as well as fight fatigue. It is easy to know when you are vitamin B deficient. Some of the major symptoms of Vitamin B deficiencies include irritation, depression and apathy which are major stress inducers. To forestall such deficiencies and the inherent consequences, it is important for young artists to eat grains like cereal, beans, peas, nuts, eggs, blue berries, salmon, almonds and dairy product that can effectively help to deal with stress and fatigue.
7. Rest and Sleep
Rest is essential for stress prevention. In this technological age, many young artists are either on the internet, phone or playing video games. Consequently, the time that could have been used for resting is spent on doing unproductive activities, including playing video games. Rest is very important and sleeping is the best way to get needed relaxation. It is imperative to have a good night rest because lack of sleep or inadequate rest can make anyone grouchy and stressed. Sleep is one of the best ways to get needed rest, and it begins with forming a sleep pattern. Establishing a bed time ritual that will inform the brain that it is time to sleep is important. Doctors and scientists warn that in order to have a good night rest, people should avoid caffeinated drinks, and exercising at least three hours before bed time. Some have even suggested that televisions should be removed from the bedroom or turned off before bed time. The reason is that some programs are capable of stimulating the brain when we should be resting. Besides warm bath, eating food like banana, peanut, figs, dairy and turkey can help promote sleep.
8. Exercise, Yoga, Walking, and Tai Chi are Major Ways to Relieve Stress
Young artists must find time to exercise, and also engage in some form of social interaction . It is important to remember that all work and no play can lead to a lot of stress. Artists, old and young, must take up some form of exercise. Yoga, walking, and Tai Chi are major ways of stress relief. Besides preventing obesity, exercise helps improve blood circulation and strengthen muscle. Walking, for instance, provides the opportunity for personal reflection necessary to resolve issues that can eventually lead to stress. By exercising, young artists not only enhance themselves physically but also mentally. The group experience can be a support system for the artist. During exercise, endorphin is released into the brain and that helps to improve mood.
9. Meditation Can Help Relive Stress
When artists are going through difficult or challenging things, it is important to have conversations with other people. Social interaction is very essential in the effort to resolve troubling issues, which could include financial, bereavement, etc. Beyond social interaction, however, meditation can be very valuable in relieving stress. This is perhaps the cheapest way to deal with stress because all that is necessary is the mind and a quite place. Young artists can join a group or organization made up of other people interested in meditation. During meditation, focusing on your breathing can help in stress reduction. Although there are many different forms of meditation, each with its own appeal, breathing exercises are effective for stress relief, and can be done anywhere and anytime.
10. Have Sex
One of the major sources of stress relief that is oven overlooked by many people is sex. In a healthy relationship, sex can be extremely beneficial. Sex alone provides multiple stress relieve points, including breathing, touching, sound communication, and several others that bring a rush of endorphin and other beneficial chemicals with organism. Sex, often described as a “fun” way of reliving stress, has been endorsed by doctors and scientists as an effective way for hardworking people in a healthy relationship to deal with pressure.
11. Do What You Love
Many young artists get caught up with work in the studio, and let life pass them by. Such situation can lead to stress. Beyond creative work, it is important for young artists to engage in activities they love. It could be playing games, journaling volunteering, gardening, listening to music, watching comedies on television or caring for other people. Whatever you can do to take your mind off work and burdensome issues will always be beneficial in reducing stress.
12. Let Emotions Fly and Engage With Other People
Bottled up emotion is one of the major sources of stress for many young artists. The reluctance and in ability to express emotions, researches have shown, can lead to binge eating or the consumption of junk food. It is important for young artists to express their emotions, because emotion has the capacity to affect our body at the cellular level. Young artists should be able to express anger, sadness, laugh, and cry, when necessary. Associating with other people is also a great way to relieve stress. There is no need to go into a frenzy about how to spend time with friends, family, work, play etc. It is easily achievable by building and integrating our social life around people with whom you share common interest, and family members who are interested in your well being. The integration of social life eliminates the need of multiple social circles. Talking with friends, family counselor and members of the clergy about your feeling is another healthy way to deal with stress.
These are just a few ways to relive stress. There are many others. Data have shown that excessive drinking of coffee and alcohol can lead to stress and other medical issues. Therefore, it is important to do things in moderation. Even over eating of healthy food can have devastating consequences. While this is just a guide and not a medical advice, it contains important facts that will be beneficial to young artists as they strive to make major impact in their creative career. If you have other ways young artists can reduce or prevent stress, please send your comments.