How Do *You* Rest?

  • Rest? What is rest? ....just kidding. I grab a long fantasy series and get lost in the story. Or I go kayaking with my wife. Or hiking. Or mowing the grass (dont judge me). Or play board games with my church family. I get too into my art for it to be restful.

  • So what I'm seeing here is that I will have more time to work once my kids are in school... This is encouraging. Only a few years to go...

    But yeah, "only" a few hours a day sounds heavenly to me. A few hours a week is what I typically get. But, I take what I can get and enjoy the incredible cuteness of my kids, and the inspiration it provides.

    Truth: I had absolutely no appreciation of how much time and freedom I had in college. I felt "busy", but still found time to read for fun, watch shows, and socialize on top of school and work. And compared to my friends I was busy: I kept a part time job on top of my full time class schedule, and therefore had 20 hours less available compared to most of my peers, who mostly didn't work while school was in session.

    As primary care giver two a two year old and a 7 month old, my time is not my own. Naps rarely overlap, so I'm watching at least one of them until I finally get them both to bed. So a couple hours after they go to sleep is all the truly "free" time I have. So... drawing and writing is my rest time. Unless you count watching Cars 3 for the billionth time. 😉

  • Why, doing art is how I rest from the rest of life, isn’t it?
    Even if it´s a joke, there’s an element of truth - doing art is the most relaxing thing in my day and generally don´t perceive it as tiring. Sometimes I need to keep a schedule for a project and that can get stressful, but not nearly as stressful as my AD job or my kids.
    I have two full studio days per week (9-5 with no interrruptions) and on those days I take two pauses: one at midday to read something and have lunch and one around 3:30 - where I allow myself to get sucked up in some internet wormhole. On the other days, I do some art in the evening, after my kids are in bed (from 9 pm to about midnight). I do listen to a lot of audio-books when I work, especially if I’m painting (less so if I’m drawing or sketching because that needs my full attention) and that is very powerful for me because I don´t want to stop (the rule is: if I stop working, I stop the book: audiobooks are only for doing art and nothing else).
    I found the key for me was a regular schedule that is nearly non-negotiable and works both ways. Family time is just as sacred as work-time and there´s no interference from work. Same with work-time. Same with my two different jobs: I don´t doodle at the agency (unless I need to do some illustration work, of course!) and I don´t do agency work when I´m in my home studio. There are exceptions, of course, but they are very occasional.
    A regular schedule has two effects. First, my mind is free to concentrate on what I’m doing without thinking that I should be doing something else. Second, I can plan any job quite accurately because I know exactly how many hours I will have available to work on it in on any given week. This also frees energy and reduces stress: I already know I have enough time to do X, so I don´t stress out while I’m doing other stuff.
    You still need to be flexible, of course. We are blessed with good health, but a sickness of any member of the family can throw all planning overboard, for example.
    At the moment, my biggest issue is getting enough sleep. I trained myself to work well on 6-hours sleep since art-school, 7 years ago. But getting old now, I find that may not be enough anymore and I will have to reduce my evening art-time to allow some more sleeping per night.
    BTW: Sleep-wake pattern is completely trainable: there´s a lot of evidence for that. There are limits of course and personal differences, but you can totally train your mind and body to live well on a 6 or 7 hours sleep schedule. It takes about 2 weeks for habit to kick in and then it needs to be kept consistently (no oversleeping at weekend!). I found it changed my life completely and all in positive ways - Before 2011 had never suspected I had so much time available!

  • Moderator

    I want to be like @smceccarelli !!! 😃

  • I have a day job as a graphic designer. I do a lot of art on the computer. But when I'm home, I like to do my own art and projects as well as some freelance client work. I'll have to say that for the most part, art is rest for me.

    I've discovered that I'm both introvert/extrovert. I love love being around people, hanging out and goofing off, but after a day of socializing, I have to take a few hours to recharge and make art.

    I've also discovered that art withdrawals is a thing!

    It happened earlier this year. I was filling in for someone at work for a period of several months, so I wasn't creating any art at work. And I was remodeling my home at the same time, and trying to balance spending time with family and friends. I was on a big time crunch, So I wasn't creating hardly any art. Guess what happened! I started getting really bad art withdrawals. It was horrible! It got to the point I had to ask to go part time at work so I can spend some time being creative.

    But now I'm back to making art at work and making art when I'm home in my newly finished tiny house.

    So if you find me getting rest this is what you would see: me in my house, siping a hot cup of tea, and munching on some sort of snack and pouring over my Ipad pro/sketch pad/computer. Or if I'm up in KY, I would be in my Squirrels Nest Studio, wood working, welding, blacksmithing, sewing or just trying to create something from found objects.

    Hopefully, someday I can rest all day long by making art. (:

  • Oh my WORD, this is all so fantastic! I love seeing where everybody is coming from, and I love even more how y'all handle your work-rest cycles. So many different perspectives, and so many different occupations-- thanks so much for sharing, and please do continue!

    I suppose my next question would be this: What sorts of materials do you normally find yourself recovering with? (By that I mean something along the lines of making a deposit in your proverbial creative bank accounts)

  • Here's my weekly schedule:
    4am wake up - get ready for day - post to social media image from previous day's work
    5:15am leave for gym
    7am - 2:30 teach high school art (work on iPad Pro during periods without students)
    On Tues/Th teach Industrial Design Studio at local college 3:30-6:15
    On M-W-F run errands, have dinner, take husband (doesn't drive - legally blind) or daughter (does not have her drivers license yet) to where they need to be.
    6:30-9:00 Studio work
    9:30 Lights out

    Weekends are heavy with the studio work.

    I aim for 6 1/2 - 7 hours of sleep each night. Sleep in until 7 on weekends. When my body is telling me to slow down, I listen. (Take a day off from gym, to bed earlier, etc.) I also eat a VERY clean nutritional menu of foods. If you feed your body crap, you will feel like crap.

    Back to work....I have only 30 minutes left of my study period when I am able to work on the iPad Pro!

    Hope this helped!

  • @mrsdion As a college student who is finally starting to realize the benefits of sleep, focus, and non-buffet food, this is more than phenomenal! Thank you for taking the time to share!

    Got a question for you: what sorts of certifications did you need to pick up to teach High school and college? Did you approach them and offer to teach, or vice-versa?

  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @smceccarelli you are so right on training your body for sleep. I am good with at least 5 hours a night. I do drink a lot of coffee through out the day. But no matter what time I go to bed I always wake up around 5:30am - 6:00am even on the weekends when no alarm is set and I been drinking the night before.

    I do enjoy arting on the weekends with a few drinks and or stuff to get my mind relaxed and just have fun!

  • @jabbernewt So glad I could help! In order to teach high school you need to be certified. Most school districts (at least here in New England) require a Bachelor's and a Master's. I have both. My BA is in Art Education and my Master's is in Early Childhood Education (and yes, it helps me out a LOT with my high school students...they are more like overgrown toddlers some days! LOL) At the Community College I teach at, they also require a Master's degree. I also have to keep my certifications up-to-date and I do that with a lot of the in-service workshops my high school provides along with online classes (like SVS) and going to SCBWI conferences (NYC).

    Truly, my schedule has hit a sweet spot this year where I am juggling my teaching schedule, my family's schedule (and no, I couldn't do this when my children were young...they are 24 and 20 but still live in our home), and my very busy art studio (I have 1 commission on the easel, numerous illustrations that I work on daily for my updated portfolio, I create K9 portraits for the NH State Police and I have several outdoor shows coming up.)

    Also, one more thing on the health aspect of life, I rehired my weight training coaches to guide me on my workouts and nutrition. I only rely on one cup of coffee each day to keep me awake and by eliminating refined sugar and eating "clean", I have a LOT of energy all day long...right up until bed. It's a total lifestyle choice, but one that pays tremendous dividends in my total well-being along with my ability to focus on my art! If you want it bad enough you make it happen. I learned that the hard way after many years!

  • Moderator

    @jabbernewt said in How Do *You* Rest?:

    What sorts of materials do you normally find yourself recovering with? (By that I mean something along the lines of making a deposit in your proverbial creative bank accounts)

    When I overdo it with the computer or drawing/painting i will go crafty. Make something with my hands; paper,, sewing machine. More likely holiday related. Then I overdo that and head back to the art table. 🤣.

  • I recommend having a mix of physical, relaxation, and creative activities.
    I go for a walk, listen to ASMR videos on youtube, watch movies or series, read, learn a new skill like learning a language or even art-related skills. I need to do something to rest everyday but take at least 1 day completely off every week.

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