Practicing Self-Care and Community Care in the Arts Sector

Working from home, whether as a freelance artist or arts administrator, has definitely presented opportunities and challenges, in addition to navigating how COVID-19 has affected the arts and culture sector. It’s now more important than ever to practice a healthy work-life balance, and there’s also a great opportunity for arts workers to practice normalizing self-care in the way we work.

This list of tips is intended to spark a conversation within yourself and those you work with about what you’d like to stay in your work from home practices, and what might not be so helpful to carry into the coming months.

Find Your Flow

Set up specific times for finding flow – those tasks that need to get done that require a full pot of coffee and no distractions can be harder to do when there may be emails and messages coming in, or meetings scheduled. It can be helpful to set a time and be transparent with coworkers when you need to unplug from your inbox and dive into a project. 

Respect Others’ Time

Have you ever needed to send an email before forgetting something, but it’s 9 pm on a Wednesday? There are many tools available to help arts workers be respectful of one another’s work hours, and one tried and true method is scheduling emails to send in advance! Another great practice is to remind coworkers that you don’t expect to hear from them outside of their hours. It can also be helpful to be very clear about when something is urgent, vs. a part of the regular workflow.

Practice Patience

It’s a pandemic — life happens. Understand that folks may be slower to respond or have “life stuff” come up while working from home. Within work teams, it’s a great idea to have a plan of action for how to handle urgent requests and get in contact in those harder-to-manage moments, while also respecting boundaries for family emergencies or health matters.  

Forgive Yourself and Others

Be kind to yourself and teammates, especially when to-do lists aren’t able to be fully checked-off, or when a task takes longer than expected due to unforeseen work-from-home roadblocks. Need a breath of fresh air? Take a break, and take a walk! A clear and focused mindset will set you up for success in accomplishing what can and needs to be done. 

Remember Your Values

It can be easy to get caught up in “full steam ahead mode,” especially when being outside of in-person work environments means fewer impromptu check-ins and conversations. That’s why it’s important to take time to ground the workday in your core beliefs and values so that your priorities are clear and you’re bringing your best intentions into interactions for the day. Reading, verbalizing, or writing down goals and values that you want to bring into your work can help center yourself in those ideas before moving into projects. 

For more self-care and community-care practices and tips, check out offerings by Arts Connect International and the #CreateTheVote steering committee, who gathered three local artists to share their methods.

Header image: Getty Images

Marissa Molinar is the Network for Arts Administrators of Color (NAAC) Coordinator at ArtsBoston. She is a professional contemporary dancer, a proud member of Ruckus Dance in Boston and nathantrice/RITUALS dance theater in Brooklyn, NY. Marissa is the founder/curator of Midday Movement Series, a grassroots initiative building a sustainable future for dance in Boston. instagram-4-512@oye_mari_


Elena Pearl, Patron Services Manager

Elena Morris (she/her/hers) is ArtsBoston’s Community Outreach and Marketing Manager. She is a dramaturg and arts administrator passionate about forward-thinking in the arts. Elena holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University, focusing her studies on dramatic literature and movement.
twitter-4-512 @elena_pearlinstagram-4-512 @elena_pearl

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