The Healthy, Happy Artist

Creative Commons © 2010 Eli Christman on Flickr

I truly believe that in order to function at the top of your creative game, it is very important to be happy and healthy. I have often said, “Well, my writing is so much better when I’m depressed.” But frankly, that’s crap, and for several reasons. For one thing, my writing when I’m depressed is so self-involved that it doesn’t even make sense to other people sometimes, and for another, I’m lucky if I manage to write anything at all when I’m depressed.

I find that the best way for me to create is to have high energy levels, be loving life and what I’m doing, and have a lot of ideas flowing. When I’m depressed, or unhealthy, or feeling like a useless blob, my ideas are not flowing. My idea pool is stagnant and covered in that violent green moss. How am I supposed to create anything when I have violent green moss for an idea pool??

Lately, I’ve been noticing that I am not terribly inspired. I am not feeling like myself: I have low energy levels, low enjoyment of things, low desire to do much of anything at all except sit on the couch and watch endless episodes of The Nanny. While this is enjoyable in its own right, it would be even more enjoyable if I didn’t feel so guilty about not getting anything else done. So I determined the things that I need from my life in order to be healthy and happy, and I wrote out the little steps that I need to take in order to achieve those major items. This is what my list looks like.

Creative Commons © 2005 Today is a Good Day (on Flickr)


– make a fitness schedule, incorporating Insanity, running, and yoga

– once graduated from Insanity for the third time, look into the next challenge: CrossFit!

– take vegetarian and clean eating cookbooks out of the library

– make a meal plan each week and stick to it

a sense of adventure

Creative Commons © 2011 Snugg LePup on Flickr

– find free and cheap things to do in Edmonton and do them as often as possible

– take side trips to see family and friends throughout the province

– plan my upcoming trip and actually take it!

reconnect with my passion

– continue the writing exchanges with Leah

– work on sticking to the deadlines we set up

– edit the pieces that I come up with through the exchanges to work on my skills and see an improvement

– try to find a writer’s group in the city I can join

– perhaps take a creative writing class or go to a workshop

giving my time

– volunteer at a shelter or with the CNIB

Creative Commons © 2011 Mr T. in DC (on Flickr)


– read 75 books this year (so far I’m at 48 and you can see my books here)

– keep library card up to date and operational

– chip away at my summer reading list (though I keep getting sidetracked by other books)

seeing friends and family

I have developed this strange sort of habit of never wanting to see people. I love my friends and family a great deal, and ultimately enjoy hanging out with them when it happens, but I find myself to be quite socially awkward in new situations, and can be painfully shy. This was an interesting discovery for me, since I never ever considered myself to be shy. Even with my close friends, if I know that someone else is going to be there, I will most likely talk myself out of going to the function. Sometimes, my body will even help me out by making me feel ill and giving me an excuse.

– make a new friend

– make plans with friends at least once every two weeks and actually follow through with those plans

– go visit my family that lives so close

– make plans with my brother and sister more often


I think that my list covers a good selection of things that are necessary to make a person feel happy and whole: fitness and nutrition, social life, hobbies, and passion. What does your happy and whole list look like?

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Jessica can most often be found with her nose in a book, or writing her newest short story/screenplay/novel, but she also has a passion for travel, child-care & development, psychology, feminism (and other forms of equality), and making the world a better place in general. Email Me